Alcohol use in the workplace can have a plethora of negative effects. This is especially true for those who drive for the majority of their work. With hundreds of thousands of commuters on the road, it’s imperative that Department of Transportation (DOT) employees, delivery drivers, and first responders abide by the law. However, it is of equal importance that they’re in compliance with their organization’s policies regarding drugs and alcohol. The roads are their workplace. A normal day can turn to tragedy in an instant if things go wrong.
According to the DOT, more than 10,000 people die each year from drunk-driving related crashes. In 2018, estimates stated that 29% of all motor vehicle fatalities were caused by drunk driving. In addition, the National Traffic Safety Administration reported in 2010 that the annual cost across the nation from loss of life and damages amounted to about 44 billion dollars. One mistake can be incredibly costly to businesses, not to mention the risk of lawsuits and tarnishing their professional reputations.
There’s a thin line that separates fun and fatal when it comes to alcohol consumption. Substance abuse disorders can manifest for those who are regular drinkers, and the signs may not be as obvious as poor health. Beyond mandatory drug and alcohol screens, employers should be aware that issues with attendance, disputes with coworkers, or failure to meet responsibilities can be a sign of chemical dependency. There are many resources available to employees who struggle with addiction. It may be an uncomfortable conversation to have, but It is always better to address these concerns before a mistake is made.
What Can Employers do to Support a Drug/Alcohol Free Workplace?
Unfortunately, there are some accidents that will happen because of an employee’s personal choices. Even the most exemplary employees can make a fatal mistake such as this. The most viable solution is for employers to act proactively. Make sure you partner with a reliable background and drug screening company that is familiar with the requirements for position-specific screening (DOT, medical personnel, chauffeurs, etc.). Alcohol testing is most effective when paired with random, post-accident, and for-cause drug testing.
Quest Diagnostics has also made Electronic Breath Alcohol Testing (eBAT) widely available to screening companies. We recommend that businesses do not use automated background screening services. These programs can miss critical errors in personal identifying information (PID) or on public records. A live researcher will catch these errors and be available for any questions an employer may have regarding results.