How drugs and alcohol can affect a workplace

How drugs and alcohol can affect a workplace

Despite what many people think about their bosses, few people enjoy having to enforce strict rules, but when it comes to drugs and alcohol in the workplace, it really matters. You may not realize just how many problems they can cause. Preventing these problems is an important part of how employers protect their customers and the employees themselves. So if something like a rehab center similar to Arista Recovery, or ones like it, is put forward for an employee to go to, it may help them in the long run and get them to face what they are going through in a positive way.

Why employees use drugs

The reasons for drug and alcohol use are many. Some people might have serious addictions, in which case they need support from people like their employers to get the right treatment and make a successful recovery. Others may use drugs or drink too much recreationally and need to face up to their responsibility to others. In some cases the motive is stress-related and this may mean that interventions at work can help tackle the root of the problem. Some people, of course, take controlled drugs for medical reasons, but if this is the case they should discuss the matter with you so that you can work around any safety issues.

The effect on performance

Few employers have not come across cases of employees being mysteriously sluggish in the morning and gradually brightening up, or coming in late smelling of alcohol. Drink and drugs can have a serious impact on performance and health insurer Aviva believes they are responsible for 16% of all absence from the workplace. Even employees who are careful to be sober at work can’t concentrate properly if they’re constantly thinking about a substance they crave. They are also likely to make much poorer decisions.

The effect on co-workers

Substance use can also affect the workplace as a whole. It can lower morale if people feel a colleague is being careless or getting away with inappropriate behaviour. Substance users are more likely to be aggressive and more likely to sexually harass co-workers. They may also encourage co-workers to develop similar habits. This kind of behaviour could also lead to more workplace incidents, especially if the environment is high-risk and has the potential to become dangerous if proper safety measures are not in place. This is where the role of risk management services often tends to come in; however, if employees do not adhere to the rules, then the chances of injuries and incidents become higher.

Safety issues

The most serious reason why you should aim to stop your employees developing problems with drink or drugs is that they could endanger the safety of others. It’s easy to imagine how this happens in work environments where people are driving, using heavy machinery etc., but even in office jobs there’s a risk, as substance users are much more likely to ignore safety rules and do things like over stacking high shelves or ignoring dropped items which then become trip hazards.

What you can do

It’s one thing to understand the impact of drink and drugs, but what can you do about it? One of the first things you can do is use this helpful site to aid you in completing a drug and health screening of new employees before they start work. This can give you a good indication as to any problems that you may have further down the line and can let you know which employees may need extra support. Another solution is to require employees to take a simple oral fluid lab test at random intervals. This is minimally intrusive and easy to administer. It gets quick results so you can take prompt action to nip problems in the bud. Remember that there are also specialist groups working to reduce substance abuse that you can turn to for advice.

Preventing problems like the above is an important part of fulfilling your legal duty to maintain a safe workplace. It can help you and it can help troubled employees, so don’t be shy about acting on your concerns.

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