Substance abuse in the workplace is, unfortunately, not new. From alcohol consumption on weekends that cause side effects during the workweek, to prescription drugs being improperly used to manage recurring health issues, substance abuse can take many forms. Employers must work with employees, with some considerations, to provide assistance and accommodate their individual needs before termination is determined. In keeping this in mind, employers must be able to recognize signs of substance abuse and receive training to allow for fitness to work assessments to take place.
Determining Substance Abuse
To assist employees further, employers need to be able to determine if substance abuse is present, especially in high-risk work environments where poor employee performance could jeopardize the safety of both themselves and their colleagues. To concretely determine if a worker is abusing substances of any kind, testing must take place but only if there are reasonable grounds for suspicion. The employee must also be aware of policies and regulations set out by the company in regards to randomized testing, and provide the appropriate consent.
According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, common side effects of substance abuse can include;
- Changes to an individual’s judgement, perception, motor skills, decision-making,
- emotions, alertness, concentration, and focus.
- Signs of withdrawal or overuse such as a hangover
- Reduced productivity and attendance.
Substances can include but are not limited to;
- Prescription Drugs
Randomized drug tests can help determine the presence of substance abuse and fitness-to-work, but must be completed in accordance with the appropriate regulations. If you are unsure of the regulations for each form of testing, visit our website.
In a Statistics Canada report released in 2013, one in ten Canadians reported symptoms typically associated with those caused by the dependency of a substance. In addition, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse estimated that substance abuse cost the economy $24.3 billion dollars due to lost productivity. This estimation did not include healthcare costs, theft, employee retention rates, and the use of law enforcement. With all expenses considered, it has been determined that nearly $40 billion was lost due to substance abuse in 2014 alone.
Through educating individuals on the effects of substance abuse, and ensuring that employers understand best practices in determining if workers are unable to complete their work effectively due to an unhealthy reliance on substances, we can work to cut these costs and provide assistance where needed.
Reasonable Suspicion Training
Reasonable Suspicion Training is designed to provide the appropriate training to employers to help determine if there are grounds to test an employee for drug use before safety issues arise. In completing the appropriate training, employers and/or
supervisors should be able to identify symptoms and risks and know how to best assist employees in gaining the support they need. SureHire has created an online training course to better educate individuals on substance abuse in the workplace and how to appropriately help employees while maintaining a safe, risk-free environment.
To learn more about this training platform, click here, or contact our team! We will walk you through the Canadian legislation surrounding the use of substances in the workplace, employer and employee rights, and regulations that you should be aware of.