Are you aware that 75% of the nation’s current illegal drug users are employed, and that 3.1% of them admit that they have used illegal drugs before or during working hours?  Do you know that 79% of the nation’s heavy alcohol users work, and that 7.1% say they have consumed alcohol during the workday?  (Do you question how many there are that don’t admit it?) The Department of Labor’s Drug-Free Workplace Alliance is sponsoring its fourth annual “Drug-Free Work Week” October 19th through 25th.   The goal of this yearly drive is to have a drug-free week every week through the education of employers, employees, communities and organizations.

Working Partners in this endeavor are federal agencies such as OSHA, MSHA, ETA, ODEP, SAMHSA, SBA, combined with several unions and contractors.  Combined efforts are to promote creating a safer and healthier workplace through prevention and intervention.

When a person has to work with someone who either drinks or uses illegal drugs, everyone’s safety is at risk.  Regardless of the situation, whether it is a commercial vehicle driver, a forklift or heavy equipment operator, construction worker, food service employee, or any other type of employee, if they have used drugs before or during work hours, or had a few nips too many, coworkers or the public in general could suffer the consequences.

Here are just a few of many suggestions on the DOL website that could have positive outcomes for businesses:

  • Emphasize drug and alcohol awareness in safety meetings.
  • Encourage employees with problems to seek help.
  • Put out a press release regarding Drug-Free Work Week.
  • Ask your local mayor to proclaim “Drug-Free Work Week”.
  • Issue payroll stuffers with valuable information to employees.
  • Pass out pocket cards to workers.
  • Display several Posters, which are excellent communication tools.

We have some other ideas in articles we presented earlier:  Do Your Part to Keep Your Workplace Free of Drugs and Alcohol, and Facts about Drugs and Alcohol Abuse in the Workplace.  There were some interesting comments from readers with suggestions that you may find helpful.  It’s undoubtedly a subject that hits close to home in many workplaces or neighborhoods.  The smartest business and individual strategies to handle this problem are to constantly watch for signs of abuse of drugs/alcohol, and not enable someone who needs to deal it before they injure themselves or someone else.  For more important information, check out the DOL’s website.

Source: Department of Labor