Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace

Use of Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace {draw:frame} {draw:frame} Figure 2 79% of binge drinkers are members of the workforce (Drug-Free Workplace) {draw:frame} {draw:frame} Drug and/or Alcohol Use Seriously Threatens Organizations {draw:frame} Excessive absenteeism, which holds a significantly percentage of occurrences of drug users as cited above, costs an organization lower productivity, damaged moral and consequently lower product quality. The US Dept of Labor reports that annually, 500 million work days are lost solely due to alcoholism.
In addition to absenteeism lowering moral, workplace theft is an experienced and related problem. Approximately 18% of cocaine users steal at work, from either the employer or their co-workers (Facts for Employers). Programs Focus on Testing to Reduce or Eliminate These Problems Reasons For and Methods of Drug Testing in the Workplace Typical drug screens detect the presence of several drugs in the body. Although tests can be specifically designed, the most typical tests are designed to detect alcohol, amphetamines, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, methamphetamines, morphine, opiates and PCP (Gottlieb).
In addition to the above list of common drugs, tests can be designed to detect the use of prescription medications often usedfor recreational use. In many cases, such as the MUST Program, the consequences of positive test results often result in immediate suspension or permanent discharge (Policy; XXXX, Interview). Opposition to Drug Testing Conclusion Although not a position embraced by the American Civil Liberties Union and other various opponents, the use of drugs and alcohol in the work place has been reported to be rampant and dangerous.

It is a multi-billion dollar problem to all organizations, of all sized and within all industries. The concerns associated with workplace drug use are financial, physical and safety issues. Summary Since the 1970’s, drug use in the workplace has become not only common, but rampant. The annual financial impact to the business world associated with this problematic use has beencalculated to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars. The fiscal consequences of this behavior dramatically reduce the bottom line profit of any affected organization.
Higher than average insurance rates are commonplace to organizations encountering this issue, which reduces the profits for all shareholders. Certain industries are more susceptible to drug use than others. They are also the industries that realize higher safety issues and encounter more dangerous workplace conditions. Construction and manufacturing are two industries affected more than most. The Department of Labor, citing examples of dramatic results, reported that due to the implementation of comprehensive prevention programs, many companies had a turn-around in incidents and related costs.
They used examples of companies ranging in size of a small local plumbing company in Washington DC to the large international group, CSX Transportation Corporation. The companies were reported to have all benefited in many ways, from drastically reduced positive test results to reduced insurance costs or ancillary problems that are inevitable with these problems. It is further suggested that drug use in the workplace can be prevented (elaws). Preventing these costly behaviors would only increase overall safety in the workplace and result in overall higher profits for the shareholders.
Although deemed by opponents to be an expensive course of action, especially to smaller organizations with limited resources, employee drug testing is commonly believed to be quite effective at combating workplace drug use, thereby promoting a potentially safer worksite and a higher profit for the organization. The cost of the prevention is well worth the effort. Recommendations Appendix A Primary Research – Interview XXXX, Vice President of XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX _Do you feel the use of drugs and/or alcohol are common in your industry? Absolutely. We have a high ratio of young workers, from their mid-twenties to mid-forties, who typically are drawn to this field. These are guys who you might find at the end of a bar any given night, or might be a once occasional drug user who went bad. What is the financial impact to this industry-wide problem? Most of all, we are saddled with high insurance rates, specifically liability and Workers Compensation rates. There is a formula for determining rates, and those rates are based on experience modifiers, among other things.
Guys who use at work in our industry are an accident waiting to happen. You can’t be safe on a construction site while you are intoxicated or high. Is the problem rampant in your company? We are pretty lucky. We haven’t had much of a problem in our company. Most of the men we have with us are family men, more concerned with going home after work and spending time with their families. They may enjoy a beer or two from time to time, but are not the kind of group who gets their paycheck and disappears for a few days. Being in this vulnerable industry, how do you combat the potential employee use of drugs and/or alcohol in your workplace? _ Like I said, we have a good group of guys working for us. But we hire smart. We screen our guys through a drug test and extensive referrals. A lot of our workforce recommends their family or friends to us as well. Are you contractually obligated to drug test? In some cases, yes. Several of the big General Contractors in the area, such as Turner, O’Neal, they all have a section in their standard contract requiring a written safety and drug-free program.
Also, being union, we are all required to tet once a year, even management. What are your procedures for drug testing? We prescreen test, and random test throughout the year. Annual physicals and accident testing isn’t uncommon. We send the guys to Kroll, through the MUST program. What do you test for? The typical, marijuana, cocaine, meth, etc. We don’t typically test for alcohol unless there is a problem and we need to protect ourselves. How do your employees feel about this policy? What are the consequences of positive test results?
We have the right to terminate immediately. Unfortunately, we have exercised that right in the past. Usually, though, if we send a guy to the clinic for an unannounced test, and he knows he is dirty, we usually don’t see him again. But once again, the majority of our guys have been with us for a while, and we know them well, so it hasn’t been too much of a problem. Appendix B Primary Research – Interview _Do you feel the use of drugs and/or alcohol are common in your industry? _ Unfortunately yes. Construction has always had this problem. What are the specific concerns associated with this problem? _ Most importantly are the safety concerns. Someone using drugs could potentially cause the loss of life of him or other guys around him. We deal with a lot of equipment that can be hazardous under the best of conditions, and we need to have our faculties around us. Are there other costs or consequences that are a concern? There sure are. High Workers Comp rates, high liability rates, high cost of equipment that could be damaged due to miss-use, these are just some of the costs.
That is why we have such a comprehensive drug policy. Does having a drug-free workforce help you in the industry? Sure. We are known as a safety conscience company, and our EMR rating proves it. Plus, some of the places where we do work won’t let us onsite without one. Motor City Casino, General Motors, Henry Ford Healthcare Systems, they all require written drug-free policies in our safety manual. Are the costs incurred due to your drug testing policy fiscally efficient? Yes, very much so.
To send a guy in for a test is a heck of a lot cheaper than dealing with injuries or lawsuits. How do your employees feel about this policy? The ones who don’t like it are the ones who don’t last too long. What are the consequences of a positive test result? We have been pretty lucky in that regard. We haven’t had too much of a problem. But I will say, if a guy shows up on a jobsite high or drunk, the foreman or the other laborers will toss him out. One guy we sent to the clinic for a random test seemed nervous about it.
He left the jobsite but never went to the clinic. He just quit and never came back. He was only with us for a few months by that time, and we were glad he never returned. Appendix C Primary Research – Interview Ms. Wendy Richardson, MUST Program Administrator How long has the MUST Program been around? Since 1988. We were the first in the XXXX Area. What is your most important focus? Primarily workplace safety, with drug-free workplace policies. _What is your _circle of industries? We have several unions and trade associations in our membership.
We also have a lot of Owners such as Ford, GM, Chrysler, DTE, Servistall, all the hospitals in the area, DPS and the Airport (NW Terminal) Would you say the drug testing portion of the programs works? Yes, certainly. We had about 6% of the drug tests come back positive 6 years ago, and now we are seeing less than 2. 5% Are certain drugs more common than others? Although I am not privy to the test results, the typical positive tests are mostly positive across the board. Sometimes it is higher for one drug than another. Cocaine and marijuana are pretty popular, unfortunately. Appendix D The United States Constitution
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. Appendix E Executive Order 12564 of September 15, 1986 Drug-Free Workplace Attached Works Cited XXXX, XXXX Personal Interview 4/1/09 “Drug Testing – A Bad Investment”. American Civil Liberties Union. 4/8/09 http://www. aclu. org/drugpolicy/testing/10842res20021021. html. Drug Testing in the Workplace”. ACLU. 3/17/09 < http://www. lectlaw. com/files/emp02. htm>. “elaws – Drug-Free Workplace Advisor”. US Department of Labor. 4/11/09 http://www. dol. gov/elaws/asp/drugfree/benefits. htm. Gottlieb, Mark. “Drug Testing – An Industry Standard”. MSG Accountants, Consultants & Business Valuators. 3/17/09 http://www. msgcpa. com/general. php? category=Industry+Library&headline=Drug+Testing. “How Drug Testing Works”. Prevention Not Punishment. 3/16/09 http://www. preventionnotpunishment. org/howsdt. html. Menzo, XXXX PersonalInterview 4/13/09 Richardson, Wendy Telephone Interview, 4/14/09

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