Do you utilize drug and alcohol testing at your workplace?
Cher Bumps 2009-06-24
If so, did you know Title 40 of the Oklahoma Statutes, Chapter 15, Standards for Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Act, Section 40-561 states, “Drug or alcohol testing governed by the Standards for Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Act shall not be requested or required of an employee by an employer unless the employer provides an employee assistance program...”
Substance abuse in the workplace costs this country billions of dollars every year in lost productivity, increased health care claims and workplace accidents. Many drug and alcohol abusers manage to hold down full time jobs while hiding their destructive habit from their employers and co-workers. According to National Drug-Free Workplace Alliance, approximate 75% of all substance abusers work outside the home and incur the following costs to employers:
- Drug abusers are absent an average of 5 days per month due to drug use, and alcohol abusers absent an average of 6% more than normal (US Dept. of Labor statistics)
- Up to 40% of industrial fatalities can be linked to alcohol abuse (Bureau of National Affairs statistics)
- Drug abusing employees are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in workplace accidents and 5 times more likely to file a workers’ compensation claim (National Institute on Drug Abuse statistics)
- Substance abusers are generally 3 times more likely to use medical benefits than other employees and the immediate family member effected by the substance abuse are up to 10 times more likely to use medical benefits due to the increased stress levels (Bureau of National Affairs statistics)
Because of these staggering statistics, many employers have implemented drug-free workplace policies including random drug testing, applicant testing upon a conditional offer of employment, reasonable suspicion testing, post-accident testing, scheduled & period testing, and post-rehabilitation testing. All of these forms of drug testing are covered under the previously mentioned “Standards for Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Act”, Sections 40-551 through 40-565, and therefore must be supported by an employee assistance program.
Check with your employee assistance program and make sure your employees have access to trained Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors, Substance Abuse Professionals, and other services including confidential screenings and assessments, treatment referrals and follow-up care. Assuring your employees receive early intervention services can prevent the need for more intensive treatment and costly productivity losses, increased health care claims and workplace injuries. A comprehensive employee assistance program should also offer support, counseling and referral services to family members impacted by the substance abuse. If your company doesn’t provide an employee assistance program, now would be a good time to check into implementing this service. With a little research, you might find it to be a valuable and inexpensive resource that could annually save Oklahoma employers hundreds of thousands of benefit, payroll and workers’ compensation dollars.