How can employers curb the risk of workplace substance abuse?
- Most employers believe opioids, even prescribed, impair job performance, but many don’t have policies concerning opioids.
- Employers are more concerned about hiring qualified workers, less about opioid use.
- Employers need a carefully worded drug policy on workplace substance abuse. View what should be included.
- View the infographic for additional considerations when creating your drug policy.
There’s no doubt that workplace substance abuse on the part of workers impacts employee safety plus the number and frequency of workers’ compensation claims. Share these steps with your work comp clients to help them curb these incidents and lower their risk of claims caused primarily by substance abuse.
Just how does workplace substance abuse impact future claims?
Your insurance customers have probably already noted how substance abuse has affected their experience mods. If not, here’s what you’ll see: Added medical expenses and higher risk of surgery. An increased chance of an overdose on the job. More days away from work and prolonged treatment plans. And a decrease in morale.
If you like numbers, here are a few statistics for you, from BusinessInsurance.com, just on opioid use and misuse:
- Most employers (86 percent) believe taking opioids even as prescribed can impair job performance, yet only 60 percent have policies requiring employees to notify their employer when they are using a prescription opioid.
- Employers say they’re more concerned about hiring qualified workers, employee benefits costs and worker benefit costs than they are about employee use of legal prescription or illicit opioids.
- Half of employers are very confident they have adequate HR policies and resources to deal with opioid use and misuse.
- 41 percent of employers would return an employee to work after he or she is treated for misusing prescription opioids.
What’s an employer to do?
Start with a carefully worded drug policy on workplace substance abuse. Your policy and any future amendments need to be developed collaboratively with your human resources and legal counsel. Consider including these points:
- The types of testing you’ll perform: pre-employment, during employment and post-accident*
- Who will be subject to testing: everyone or only those in certain jobs?
- What substances are prohibited, and how you will test (i.e., urine, saliva or blood tests)
- Consequences of a positive test and availability of assistance
* Note that mandatory post-incident testing sometimes deters reporting, because the employee knows that he or she will be tested. This may cause them to delay their reporting, or simply not report it.
View the infographic below, courtesy of Zurich, for more considerations when creating your substance abuse policy.
This article was originally posted on Arrowhead’s Tribal blog. It has been updated and modified to better fit the needs of Arrowhead producers and their customers.