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BY KIRK HARDY, THE DRUG DETECTION AGENCY— INTERNATIONAL, DATIA BOARD MEMBER


Workplace Drug Testing: What’s My Return on Investment of Drug Testing in Australia and New Zealand?


“Every time an employee suffers an injury—even outside the workplace—there will be an impact on your business; resulting in finding someone to fill in, training and replacement, and less efficient use of time. But do you know the real impact on your financial botom line?” —Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) (July 2015)


In both New Zealand and Australia, company directors and senior executives have now become increasingly exposed to penalties for failing to ensure a safe working environment. Stricter legislation has been brought in to ensure a duty of care to all employees and the safety of the general public (see Appendix Notes 1 and 2).


W


Question: What return on investment (ROI) do I get from introducing a drug testing program in our company? Return on Investment (ROI)


There is a need for a clear evaluation of the ROI achieved from workplace drug testing programs. That includes weighing both the tangible and intangible benefits that are, more often than not, overlooked.


Question: What are the costs or risks associated with drug use in the workplace? Tere is now well-established and documented research that provides clear evidence of the link between higher incidents of workplace accidents and employee drug or substance use. Tese include: • New Zealand—Ministry of Health report on Cannabis Use (2015)—htp://www.health.govt.nz/publication/cannabis-use- 2012-13-new-zealand-health-survey


• Portugal—Faculty of Science—Te effect of alcohol and drug testing at the workplace on individual’s occupational accident risk (2014)—htp://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/ S0925753514000769


• Australia—Australian Drug Foundation (2014)—htp://www. druginfo.adf.org.au/reports/australian-drug-foundation-reports


• U.S DATIA Study (2011)—htp://www.globaldrugpolicy. org/Issues/Vol%205%20Issue%204/Basic-11-22Efficacy%20 Study%20Publication%20Final.pdf


24 datia focus


orkplace drug testing continues to increase in Australasia, as companies respond to the increasing availability of drugs and the requirements of health and safety regulations.


• New Zealand—Forrest Owners Association (2010)—htp:// nz.pfolsen.com/market-info-news/wood-maters/2010/october/ drug-and-alcohol-testing-improves-forestry-safety/


• U.S An Historical and Economic Examination’ (2010)—htp:// www.globaldrugpolicy.org/Issues/Vol%203%20Issue%204/ Drug%20Testing%20in%20the%20Workplace.pdf


• New Zealand—Business and Economic Research Limited (2009)—htp://www.justice.govt.nz/justice-sector/drivers-of- crime/documents/BERL_-July_2009-_Costs_of_Harmful_ Alcohol_and_Other_Drug_Use-1.pdf


• U.S National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2007)—htp:// www.dpſt.org/resources/NSDUHresults2007.pdf


• New Zealand—Department of Labour New Zealand (2002)— htp://www.business.govt.nz/worksafe/information-guidance/ all-guidance-items/aſtermath-the-social-and-economic- consequences-of-workplace-injury-and-illness/aſtermath-social- economic-consequences-workplace-injury-illness.pdf


• US Postal Service (Dr Craig Zwerling and assoc) (1987)—htp:// www.nytimes.com/1990/11/29/us/absenteeism-and-accidents- in-workplace-tied-to-drugs.html


Tese studies show that organizations with good workplace policies are associated with lower levels of risk related to alcohol and drug use among employees: • Employees who use drugs are 51% more likely to have increased medical claims


• Regular drug users are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in a workplace accident


• Testing at the optimal frequency generates net savings of at least 15:1, in onboard personnel


• Employees who use drugs have a 66% higher rate of absenteeism. • 6% of cannabis users reported harmful effects on work. (See Appendix Note 3 and 4)


Question: What if one of my employees has an accident caused by simple inattention as a result of immediate or post effects of drug or substance use? We looked at 2 possible workplace injuries and the cost calculator from the ACC website as of July 2015:


Case Study 1: An employee earning $20.00/hour who misjudged a step on a staircase resulting in a common back injury ‘prolapsed disc’.


summer 2016


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