05th Aug, 2020 Read time 2 minutes

How drug and alcohol abuse can be detrimental to a workplace

A safe and happy workplace is good for all stakeholders involved in an organisation. One of the challenges for those working in health and safety is to maintain this harmony on an ongoing basis. Drug and alcohol misuse is one of the biggest threats workplace and also one of the hardest factors to control within your workforce. Here are some of the different negative effects the presence of drugs and alcohol in an employee can have on a business.


Increases the risk of workplace incidents

The combined or separate use of drugs and alcohol can have a big impact on an individual’s decision making abilities. For example, this could impact on the reactions and decision making abilities of a forklift driver.

In terms of alcohol assumption, it is illegal to drink at work. This is the case for safety-sensitive work and work in which an individual operates a vehicle.


Increase in workplace anti-social behaviour

The prolonged use of alcohol within a worker can have negative effects on their physical and mental health in both the short and long term. This can often come with anti-social behaviour in the workplace such as poor language, short behaviour, and a lack of empathy. All these could negatively impact the morale of your workplace and in turn the productivity.


Can increase the rate of workplace depression

Depression in a workplace can have a negative impact on the quality of work and the level of health and safety within a workplace. Research suggests that long-term excessive alcohol use can increase the chance of workplace depression occurring. Taking action before any permanent damage is done is an important part of safeguarding your workplace.


Look at the reasons behind drug and alcohol abuse

In many cases, there are serious underlying reasons behind many cases of substance misuse. These can resort from workplace factors and issues located externally from someone’s job. A good drug and alcohol policy will give you the right foundations for proactively dealing with the issues. An estimated 60% of workplace employers have a drug and alcohol policy in place.

Getting to the bottom of these issues if they are within an employer’s control can help mitigate future drug and alcohol misuse. Preventative methods like good safeguarding policies for mental wellbeing and good communication between management and employees can help unearth any potential issues that may lead to substance misuse.

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