Assess the Current Situation and Determine Any Special Needs

Your organization may employ or contract with individuals who are in safety-sensitive jobs, such as positions that require individuals to operate machinery, handle money or care for people who are dependent upon them. These types of workers may be held to a higher standard of safety than others. If your organization has them, you may want to implement the most comprehensive type of program. Examples of higher risk positions include:

  • Drivers
  • Security personnel
  • Health care workers
  • Employees who handle money
  • Employees who work with dangerous equipment and/or chemicals
  • Employees who, in the performance of their duties, are entrusted with public safety

You are also encouraged to identify particular areas of your organization that may be especially affected by drugs and alcohol. Research shows that worker use of alcohol and drugs negatively impacts health care, workers' compensation, insurance and liability costs, as well as general employee productivity and morale. Thus, when considering what type of program to implement, it may be useful collect data and anecdotal information regarding the following:

  • Absenteeism
  • Arbitration costs
  • Liability and insurance costs
  • Workers' compensation claims
  • Accidents
  • Health care costs
  • Equipment replacement costs
  • Work spoilage costs

If any of these are higher than you would expect for a business of your size and industry, alcohol and drugs may be a factor. Establishing baselines for these costs and then tracking them following implementation of your drug-free workplace program will help measure its effectiveness.

In addition, during the planning phase, employee benefits and health insurance coverage should be reviewed to ensure adequate impatient and outpatient services for drug and alcohol treatment. Although some may be wary of the cost of such benefits, coverage for treatment can actually save significant costs by way of improved performance.

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