Drugs and Alcohol

by Ian Robinson

The benefits

There are many benefits to having a drugs and alcohol policy, both financially and in relation to human costs. Amongst the more obvious benefits are:

Reduced absenteeism

Drug using employees are three times more likely to require sick leave or benefits. How much does absenteeism cost your organisation? Can you afford not to reduce the level? A policy could have a big impact on this issue.

Increased production

A member of staff under the influence of drugs or alcohol will only achieve 67 per cent of their work potential. Think of it this way: could you afford to let your staff go home two and a half hours early and not feel the impact on production? An effective policy, which includes awareness training, will help your staff to achieve their full capacity.

Protection from corporate manslaughter

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, which came into effect on 6 April 2008, created a new offence whereby companies are liable to prosecution if the way the business is managed or organised falls far below what could reasonably have been expected of the organisation in the circumstances and causes a person’s death. An effective drugs and alcohol policy could be the basis of your defence should a death occur due to an alcohol-related or drug-related incident in your organisation.

Reduction in numbers of disciplinary proceedings

Drug-using employees have an approximately 47 per cent higher rate of involuntary termination than any other workers. An effective drugs and alcohol policy, implemented by trained managers, will reduce the number of incidents likely to lead to disciplinary action. If a drug- or alcohol-related incident does occur, your managers will be equipped to deal with the situation correctly – in a legally defensible procedure.

Potential reduction of insurance premium

If you can demonstrate to your insurer that you have a robust drugs and alcohol policy in place, with trained managers, you will be in a position to negotiate a reduction in your premiums or at least negate any increase in your annual renewal.