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Nine questions you must answer before you investigate drug abuse in your workplace

by , 17 January 2014
Substance abuse in the workplace is costly. That's why you need to investigate a potential drug or alcohol crisis as soon as possible. How do you go about doing this? Well, the first step is to answer these nine questions...

Alcohol and drug abuse can cause huge expenses for your business, from lost productivity to injuries and increases in health claims.

Some of the costs related to substance abuse are:

  • Employees missing work because of accidents;
  • Disease;
  • Employees dying;
  • Direct health care.
  • Tardiness, sleeping on the job;
  • Theft;
  • Poor decision-making;
  • Loss of efficiency;
  • Lower morale of co-workers;
  • Higher staff turnover;
  • Training of new employees;
  • Drug testing programmes; and
  • Medical, rehabilitation and employee assistance programmes.

That's why you need to be proactive and investigate drug abuse in the workplace if you suspect it's happening.

Sounds simple?

Well, not quite.

Answer these nine questions to investigate a drug abuse crisis in your workplace

The Health & Safety Advisor says you must answer the following questions first to investigate a potential drug or alcohol crisis:

  1. What exactly do you see?
  2. Does there appear to be illegal activity, policy violations or very unusual behaviour taking place?
  3. Is a group of people involved or a single employee?
  4. Are you the direct supervisor to anyone involved in the incident?
  5. Are reliable witnesses available?
  6. Is any physical danger involved in taking action or not taking action?
  7. Are there existing policies that apply to the situation?
  8. Does the situation require expert consultation from human resources, security or law enforcement?
  9. Have you documented what you see and what you have done in response?

Answering these questions will form the basis of your investigation. And will help you prepare thoroughly before you investigate a drug abuse crisis in your workplace.

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