What are some of the reasons why a store owner would want to have an employment drug screening program? In Part 1 of this series we looked at how to avoid potential legal concerns that could be associated with an employee drug testing program if it is not handled properly. But we also want to explore the why’s for retail owners and managers to want to have a program in place at all. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Safety and Health lists the following problems that can arise from substance abuse in the workplace:
• They can have an impact on a person’s judgement, alertness, perception, motor coordination or emotional state that also impacts working safely or safety sensitive decisions.
• After-effects of substance abuse can affect job performance.
• Absensteeism, illness and/or reduced productivity.
• Preoccupation with obtaining and using substances while at work.
• Illegal activities at work including selling illicit drugs to other employees.
• Psychological or stress-related effects due to substance use by a family member, friend or co-worker that affects another person’s job performance.
(Canadian Centre for Occupational Safety and Health, “Substance Use in the Workplace”). As can be seen from this listing, allowing your employees to use illegal drugs can create a formidable number of issues. Not only is the employee who is using the substances affected by the substances they abuse but it can impact customers and co-workers and the financial health of the store.
So what is the best approach to implementing a drug-free workplace? It starts with screening applicants in a pre-employment process. Loss Prevention Systems Inc. has the Applicant Management Center that helps store owners with everything from online job application processing to background investigations. They assist owners with managing the entire hiring process legally and that can include conducting employment drug screening. You, the employer, will not have to worry about whether you have covered all of your bases with the proper documents and signatures. Loss Prevention Systems Inc. has all of the documentation required to provide to your candidates and protects your company from any potential problem. I’ll throw this out there for your consideration LPSI also conducts background investigations so you can be assured the people you are thinking of hiring are clean in more ways than one.
Let’s explore in more depth the points listed by CCOHS and how each can hurt your business.
• Drug use can impair a worker’s judgement, alertness, etc. – I have been in retail for over 28 years and have yet to work in a store that does not have ladders. Consider for a moment what happens if you have an impaired worker climbing a ladder and they fall off. If you have a drug-free workplace you can send that employee for testing. You may be able to avoid any of the related medical expenses (or lawsuits) due to that accident. An employment drug screening program also helps managers prevent hiring substance abusers in the first place.
• After effects of substance abuse can affect performance – I cannot count the number of times I have had employees report to work hung over and the time wasted as they muddled their way through the shift. They are slower, they complain and productivity is severely curtailed. That is just the alcohol related cases. I have seen a few similar situations in which I suspected drug use and one where we sent the employee to drug testing. The impact of after effects also has a negative impact on customer interactions. The affected employee is probably not going to be the face of your company you would want representing you or your business to shoppers.
• Absenteeism and “illness” are part and parcel of the after effects. According to the National Safety Council, in an article, “Drugs at Work” noted that, “Workers with substance use disorders miss nearly 50% more work days than their peers – up to six weeks annually…”
• If preoccupation with obtaining and using substances is the focus of an employee’s time then what are they focused on at your workplace? Chances are you aren’t getting out of them what you are paying them to do.
• Illegal activities at work – There is nothing more to add. Nothing good will come of it.
Drug and substance abuse hurt businesses in many ways and all of them place a drain on the bottom line.
Employers should not be ignoring the importance of drug testing in the workplace. Pre-employment screening protects the employer, the staff and customers from the problems that are associated with illegal drug use. Begin your next job search with a company that can manage your hiring process and screen your candidates adequately.
For more information about employment drug screening contact us or call 1.866.914.2567