What you don’t know can hurt your business. Companies across the country are unknowingly exposing themselves to serious risks and liabilities associated with substance abuse. So, what is substance abuse, how does it impact your organization and what can you do about it?
Substance abuse in the workplace means the use of illegal drugs, the misuse of illegally used drugs (prescriptions & over the counter) and the use of alcohol that negatively impacts the workplace. A staggering number of employed individuals have a substance abuse problem – 1 in every 6, according to Christine Clearwater from the Drug-Free Solutions Group. Further to that, 90% of alcoholics are employed and 55% of these users deal in the workplace.
Do you own a construction practice? Clearwater further states that 35% of the total substance abuse users that are employed have jobs in the construction field. Hospitality and financial firms are at 28% and 26% respectively.
In today’s legal environment, the employer is responsible for defining the rules relating to drugs and alcohol and for knowing that each employee can do the job he or she has been hired to do.
You won’t find your employees dealing drugs in the workplace, but their substance abuse is negatively impacting your bottom line. These types of costs are called “hidden costs”. They include: accidents, absenteeism, workers’ compensation costs, medical expenses, pilferage, and loss of productivity. Of course, there is also the exposure to litigation, which is a more obvious outcome than the costs listed above.
A NY business insurance policy will pay for defense and the actual workers compensation claim, but the business itself will bear the bulk of these costs.
$7,000 per abuser/per year is the average impact on direct operational costs, such as accidents, absenteeism, pilferage, medical benefits, productivity, etc. That $7,000 does not include the cost of turnover, morale, workers compensation claims, unemployment claims or the potential for lawsuits.
You can see why a sound risk management program would include a substance policy for the workplace. Such a policy should be clear, utilized consistently and have the support of management. Through our LiveSECURE 365™ process, we can help you determine if a substance abuse policy is right for your business, how effective your current program may be if one is already in place, and refer you to a professional who can help you establish a substance abuse policy.
At The Murray Group, we believe it is our job to provide you with risk management advice and not just a NY business insurance policy. We want to help you achieve your goals and provide financial security for the future you want.
If you have any questions about a substance abuse policy, NY business insurance or would like to discuss your risk management program with us further, please do not hesitate to contact myself or a member of our risk advisory team. We welcome the opportunity to make your business a better business.
Live Secure 365,
VP, Risk Consultant
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