Workers Compensation: Substance Abuse in the Workplace

Workers Compensation: Substance Abuse in the WorkplaceWorkers Compensation: Substance Abuse in the Workplace

According to the American Council For Drug Education, one worker in four, between the ages of 18 to 34, used drugs in the past year. Overall, more than 70% of American workers suffer from some type of substance abuse. This post is presented on behalf of Caitlin Morgan Workers Compensation Insurance programs

Furthermore, as a nation, we consume 60% of the world’s production of illegal drugs. Twenty-three million people use marijuana at least four times a week, 18 million are abusing alcohol, and nearly 6 million regularly use cocaine, while nearly 2 million are using heroin on a regular basis.

When someone reports to work using or abusing or more of these substances on a regular basis, they become a problem for both their employer and co-workers alike. There is an increased risk of accidents and usually a reduction in productivity, affecting profits and perhaps most costly, a rise in insurance costs.

The Effects Substance Abuse in The Workplace

A person involved in substance abuse does not necessarily have to be using at work to have a negative impact on the workplace. The cumulative effect of their being a constant user can likely produce poorer performance. Unlike most of their co-workers they are much more likely to:

  • Miss more days of work
  • Be involved in on-the-job accidents or suffer some type of injury
  • File a workers compensation claim
  • Be less productive overall in the performance of their duties

Because their reflexes and judgment become impaired the danger increases, and subsequent injuries will ultimately lead to higher healthcare costs. Also, due to their lower productivity, others must “pick up the slack,” which results in increased workloads for others, which could lower or compromise product quality, thereby tarnishing the company’s image, which could certainly threaten the job security of every employee.

Employers should be aware if an employee’s work habits suddenly change or become far below the standards that once existed. Often co-workers will notice subtle changes, but be frightened that they could be costing a fellow worker, perhaps even a friend, their job. They should be made aware that that the employer will do everything in their power to help anyone suffering from a drug, or alcohol-related problem, rather than punish them

By providing counseling and treatment to anyone suspected of having a substance issue or problem, a company can save time, money, and their reputation, not to mention the life of what might have once been a valuable component to their business.

Caitlin-Morgan provides insurance for substance abuse facilities, including Workers Compensation.