How do drugs and alcohol impact the workplace?

When an employee turns up for work under the influence of drugs and alcohol, they are not only endangering themselves but putting other members of the team and wider community at risk.

By performing pre employment screening for substance abuse problems and incorporating health and wellness programs into your business, you can dramatically reduce the likelihood of drug or alcohol related accidents or loss of productivity occurring in your business.

The impact of drugs and alcohol on the workplace

Every year, 147,500 New Zealand adults take one or more days off work due to their alcohol use. A total of 84,400 adults have experienced harmful effects on their work, study or employment because of alcohol. And it’s not only the intoxicated employee who suffers. 1 in 10 workers have admitted that a co-workers use of alcohol has affected their own ability to do their job.

It only takes one drug or alcohol binge to initiate inappropriate, dangerous or distracting behaviour. In the workplace this could result in:

  • Violent and anti-social behaviour
  • Workplace injuries
  • Road crashes, pedestrian injury
  • Fires and burns
  • Drownings
  • Slip, trips and falls
  • Interpersonal problems with colleagues
  • Absenteeism
  • Poor work performance

As an employer, the consequences of an intoxicated employee injuring themselves or someone else can be catastrophic. Even if it is not the fault of you or your business, these accidents can lead to negligence lawsuits and loss of reputation.

To help safeguard your organisation from the likeliness of violent, dangerous or anti-social behaviour, Bodycare has incorporated a Drug and Alcohol Screening module into its Pre Employment Functional Health Assessment.

Pre-employment screening

Most employers would like to avoid hiring someone who has a substance abuse problem. That’s why Bodycare includes drug and alcohol screening as part of our comprehensive Pre Employment Health Screening service.

By testing a candidate’s blood alcohol level (BAC) and the presence of illicit drugs in their system at the time of assessment, the chances of hiring a candidate with a substance abuse problem is significantly reduced.

Bodycare’s drug and alcohol screening service can find traces of:

  • Cannabis
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Morphine
  • Methamphetamines

If necessary, drug screens can be sent off for confirmation testing.

Reduce alcohol in the workplace

Alcohol is so widely accepted in New Zealand culture that many workplaces encourage drinking at functions, lunches and sometimes even meetings. Not only does drinking in a work setting increase the risk of an accident taking place, it can normalise unhealthy habits in those already at risk of developing alcohol dependence.

By making small changes to the drinking culture of your organisation you can reduce the likeliness of alcohol related accidents and injury.

  • Organise social and other team building activities that don’t include alcohol, such as physical activity challenges
  • Develop a workplace policy that encourages responsible use of alcohol
  • Provide non and low and non-alcoholic beverages at work functions
  • Encourage workers with a drinking problem to access treatment
  • Display resources about the harmful effects of drinking and where to access treatment

Pragmatic tactics like these are optimised when included within a holistic health and wellness program.

Health and wellbeing services

Studies have found that the workplace is an appropriate and effective prevention and intervention setting for targeting alcohol and drug-related harm. This is because the majority of drug and alcohol users are employed and would not normally seek help if it wasn’t put in front of them in a work setting. This makes the workplace the perfect environment for early intervention.

Investing in the health of your employees will always have a positive impact on their ability to work to their full potential. For employers worried about drugs and alcohol in the workplace, engaging a highly trained Bodycare Health and Wellness Professional to help tailor a workplace wellness program around drugs and alcohol can change an employee’s health and lifestyle habits.

Every business has unique needs, which is why we work with you to custom-build a health program that meets the needs of your budget, values and end goals.

These can include:

  • Face to face health and wellbeing services such as health coaching
  • Team based and individual challenges that show employees how to make real lifestyle changes
  • Educational resources such as professional print and digital education materials

Whilst employers can’t control how an employee behaves in their own time, they can implement pragmatic strategies that can help reduce the devastating impact of drugs and alcohol on the workplace.

If you have any questions about how Bodycare can help your business or would like to speak to someone about getting started, get in touch with us today.