Why go through the trouble of establishing a drug-free workplace?
For starters, it’s not that much trouble.
But more importantly, evidence is overwhelming that drug-free workplaces are healthier, happier and more efficient workplaces.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration lists many examples of workplaces that have saved money through improvements in efficiency, safety and turnover, among other things.
And according to the National Drug-Free Workplace Alliance, employers with drug-prevention programs see decreases in workplace accidents, employee mistakes, absenteeism, employee turnover and workers’ compensation claims. Less tangible — but no less important — benefits such as improved workplace environment, employee morale and customer satisfaction also can be attributed to drug programs, the alliance states.
It’s for those reasons that many states offer discounts in worker’s compensation premiums for companies with drug-free policies. In Washington, businesses can earn discounts of up to 40 percent for reducing workplace injuries.
There’s also the matter of regulation. Certain businesses, such as those that employ commercial motor vehicle drivers, are required by the state Department of Transportation to participate in breath alcohol testing programs.
A study conducted in Washington state and published in Health Services Research showed that drug-free workplaces were associated with marked decreases in injury rates and lost time, particularly in the construction industry. Often, construction companies are required to test under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration guidelines.
Related: Are you covered by the DOT regulations on drug alcohol prevention programs?
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But even for those where a testing program isn’t required by law, establishing a program is almost always in a company’s best interest.
Again, employees who abuse drugs typically are less productive, don’t perform as well, don’t show up as often and cause increased medical and workers’ compensation costs.
Looking to get started? Bostec Inc., in Lynden, Washington, helps companies in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska establish workplace testing programs, training staff and supplying them with the necessary tools.
We assist Whatcom County companies with implementation of their drug testing programs, offering a convenient location for employees to come for random or scheduled drug tests.
Related: For a look at the applicable laws in each state, check out this list
from the nonprofit Institute for a Drug-Free Workplace.
We’re always happy to help businesses navigate the process of starting (and maintaining) a drug-free workplace program. For more information, contact us!