October 12, 2020

Drug Free Workplaces: Spread Awareness, Make a Plan.

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GOALS OF THIS GUIDE

LWCC stands with the National Drug-Free Workplace Alliance, a division of Drug Free America Foundation, to promote the annual observance of National Drug-Free Work Week from October 12 – 16. Fostering a drug-free workplace improves business’ efficiency and effectiveness while supporting worker safety.  

In an effort to elevate Louisiana one business and one worker at a time, LWCC always seeks to educate employers on the benefits of a drug-free workplace to strengthen their safe and healthy work environments. The resources shared during this week of awareness educate employers on the facts behind the drug scene and what they can do to make a difference.  

U.S. industry is negatively impacted by substance use through lost productivity, workplace accidents and injuries, employee absenteeism, low morale, and increased illness. Billions of dollars a year are lost by U.S. companies because of employees' alcohol and drug use and related problems.

PREVALENCE OF DRUG USE IN THE WORKPLACE

The Quest Diagnostics’ 2019 Drug Testing Index Report, which analyzed over 10 million workplace drug tests over three decades, found the following:

  • The urine drug test positivity rate among the non-safety-sensitive workforce in the U.S. is at 4.5% which is the highest level since 2004. This number is 25% higher than the lowest recorded rate of 3.5% in 2010 and 2012.
  • Marijuana is the most commonly detected drug among workers, including safety-sensitive.
  • Opiates testing positivity decreased by 37% to its lowest level in 4 years to .31%. Opioids testing positivity has similarly decreased by 46% to its lowest level in five years to .43%.
  • The U.S. general workforce positivity rate increased from 4.8% in 2015 to 5.1% in 2018.
  • Two industries, Other Services and Retail Trade, both had positivity rates above the national average of 5.1% with 5.4% and 5.2% respectively.

More on industry specific statistics can be found here.

IMPACTS OF DRUG USE IN THE WORKPLACE

Drug use in the workplace can greatly affect a business. A survey conducted by the National Safety Council found the following:

  • Employers were most concerned about the costs of benefits (86%), ability to hire qualified workers (90%), and costs of workers' compensation (86%) than misuse of opioids (79 – 83%, depending on the type of opioids) and illegal drug sale or use (75%)
  • Over 75% of employers have been affected in some way by employee opioid use, with 38% experiencing impacts related to absenteeism or impaired worker performance
  • Only 17% of employers believe their organization is extremely well prepared to deal with opioid use in the workplace
  • While employee training and education is a main driver of preparedness, only 28% offer opioid-specific training and education to their workforce

BEST PRACTICES

Employers should implement workplace practices that encourage safe, healthy lifestyles, and discourage behaviors that are counter-productive, both from a personal and a business perspective. Employers can protect themselves and their employees by taking these steps:

  • Recognize the impact of drug misuse on the bottom line.
  • Get a comprehensive drug-free workplace program, or review your existing policy and program.
  • The substance abuse policy should be in writing and delivered to each employee in written form and acceptance should be signed and dated by the employee.
  • The policy should require post-accident testing
  • Drug testing should be completed within 24 hours of an accident.
  • Invest in an Employee Assistance Program.
  • Employ additional methods of drug-testing.
  • Ensure employees are being educated as the drug scene is constantly changing. Provide supervisors with the tools to effectively do their job.

The National Drug-Free Workplace Alliance offers assistance and resources to help employers ensure their workplace is fostering a strong drug-free workplace culture. Creating a drug-free workplace and an environment of caring can improve your business by increasing work morale and loyalty that will translate into productivity and improved business operations.

NDWA AWARENESS FLYER

NDWA RESOURCES

*National Drug-Free Workplace Alliance

LWCC's Safety Services

LWCC is committed to a safe and productive work environment. A variety of safety resources are available to our policyholders free of charge including our experienced team of Consultants on Call, online trainings, sample forms and programs, and much more.

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