Creating and maintaining a safe and productive work environment should be a top priority and concern for employers. A crucial part of creating a safe work environment is educating employees about the dangers of drug and alcohol use.
Substance abuse does not only post significant health risks but also affects workplace safety, productivity, and overall well-being.
In this blog post, we discuss the importance of creating a workforce that is well-educated on the dangers of workplace substance abuse and highlight the importance of breathalysers and drug test kits in ensuring a safer work environment.
By promoting awareness and understanding, employers can empower their people to make informed decisions that could contribute to a healthier and more productive workplace.
Why are drugs and alcohol dangerous?
Drugs and alcohol are dangerous because of their impairing effects on the human body, which affect one’s judgement, vision, state of mind, focus, and other senses. This is especially true and dangerous when it comes to the workplace setting.
It is essential for employees to have a comprehensive understanding of the specific dangers associated with drug and alcohol use. By being aware of the risks and consequences, individuals can make informed decisions and take appropriate actions in regard to their own safety as well as that of their colleagues. Some key points highlighting the dangers include the following:
Consuming alcohol even below the legal limit to drive of .05%BAC can impair one’s cognitive function, which affects one’s judgement, decision making and problem-solving skills. Impaired employees may make risky decisions, disregard safety procedures or may not properly react to situations as they normally would when sober.
This impaired judgement can compromise workplace health and safety protocols and endanger surrounding individuals at the workplace.
Decreased focus and concentration
Substance abuse is known to hinder concentration and focus, leading to decreased productivity and an increased likelihood of errors and accidents. This is most applicable to tasks that require attention to detail or quick response times, like operating machinery or driving.
Increased risk of accidents and injuries
Drugs and alcohol significantly heighten the risk of workplace accidents or injuries. The two reasons given above are some of the reasons that could lead to falls, trips, collisions and other preventable accidents.
Compromised interpersonal relationships
Substance abuse and subsequent addiction can strain personal relationships as well as relationships in the workplace. Employees working under the influence of drugs or alcohol may exhibit irritability, mood swings, and erratic behaviour, which can take a strain on relationships, be it personal or professional.
Reputational and legal consequences
Using drugs and alcohol while on duty could have serious legal ramifications for both the employee and the organisation. Violations of drug and alcohol policies can lead to disciplinary action, termination of employment and even legal consequences. Incidents revolving around drugs and alcohol at the workplace can also damage a company’s reputation, affecting its credibility, customer trust and future business opportunities.
Understanding the specific dangers associated with drugs and alcohol is essential for fostering a safe, productive, and harmonious work environment. However, education is only the first step to fostering a safety-conscious workforce. Testing employees for drugs and alcohol can help detect and prevent substance abuse in the workplace.
READ MORE: The effects of alcohol on driving
The role of breathalysers and drug test kits in the workplace
Andatech breathalysers and drug test kits play a crucial role in detecting and preventing substance abuse in the workplace. These tools from Andatech provide employers with objective and reliable methods to identify employees that may be under the influence of drugs and alcohol and help officials make informed decisions.
Below are some reasons why breathalysers and drug tests are key in many workplaces
Detection of impairment
Breathalysers are specifically designed to measure a user’s blood alcohol content, giving testing officers an idea of how impaired a test subject is. Drug test kits, on the other hand, detect the presence of various drugs within a person’s urine or saliva. This usually indicates whether a person has recently used an illicit drug. By using these tools, employers can detect a test subject’s impairment levels to help prevent unwanted accidents
Compliance with organisational policies
Implementing breathalysers and other drug screening measures is usually part of a workplace’s health and safety policy and will need to be abided by. Some industries are obligated to conduct drug and alcohol testing to ensure the safety of the community.
The presence of breathalysers and drug test kits at the workplace may be enough to deter some employees from even considering substance abuse in the workplace. The knowledge that random testing or scheduled screenings could occur can encourage individuals to abstain from drug and alcohol consumption during work hours, reducing the likeliness of any accidents.
Breathalysers and drug test kits not only identify employees with substance abuse issues but also provide an opportunity for early intervention and support. Employers can exhibit empathy and use test results as a basis for initiating conversations with employees, offering assistance programmes or providing access to rehabilitation resources.
Andatech breathalysers have been certified by Australian AS 3547 for being highly while Andatech drug testing kits comply wit cut off levels specified by Australian Standards AS 4760.
Promoting a culture of support
Many times, employees at an organisation are a victim of addiction and could be struggling with the lengthy process of becoming sober. Employers play a crucial role in fostering a supportive culture by providing education, resources and support to their workforce.
With that being said, creating a workplace culture that supports employees in maintaining a drug and alcohol-free environment is essential for long-term success. Some strategies to promote a culture of support include
- Clear policies and procedures: Develop and communicate clear and concise drug and alcohol policies at the workplace and ensure that employees understand the expectations, consequences and available support mechanisms. Outline the disciplinary actions that may be taken if policies are violated and emphasize the goal of providing a safe and healthy working environment for all.
- Employee assistance programmes: In addition to clear drug and alcohol testing policies, creating an employee assistance programme for individuals struggling with addiction that is confidential and accessible can help support employees dealing with these issues and not shame them. Encourage staff members to utilise these programmes without fear of repercussions, emphasizing that seeking help is a sign of strength and not weakness.
- Open communication channels: Foster an environment of open communication where employees feel comfortable discussing their concerns and seeking help. This can be done informally and formally through the employee assistance programme mentioned above.
- Individual awareness and education: Managers, leaders, supervisors and even colleagues have a responsibility to assist employees and team members by being able to identify when they are going through issues, especially issues related to drugs and alcohol addiction. Leaders should be able to also be approachable in regard to these issues to help ease the lives of the team members and create a safe work environment.
Educating employees on the dangers of substance abuse at work is a critical first step in creating and maintaining a safe and productive work environment. By raising awareness about the risks associated with substance abuse, organisations can empower their employees to make informed decisions and prioritise their well-being.
Implementing breathalysers and drug test kits as part of a comprehensive drug and alcohol policy ensures that safety measures are in place and that employees understand the consequences of their actions.
By fostering a culture of care and support by providing resources for those seeking help, organisations can effectively address drug and alcohol issues.
This will, in turn, help protect their employees and maintain a positive work environment.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general reference only. Please seek advice from professionals according to your business’s needs.
Written by Wafi Rashid