The Australian Drug Foundation has revealed that alcohol and drug use is costing businesses across the country approximately $5.2 billion each and every year, through absenteeism and lost productivity.
This should be a big concern for any business owners with a vested interest in corporate health and the wellbeing of their employees.
According to a paper that was recently compiled for the Foundation by Dr Kevin Pidd and Professor Anne Roche, five per cent of all workplace deaths in Australia and 11 per cent of non-fatal injuries can be linked back to alcohol.
The paper also reveals that alcohol-related absenteeism has been calculated to be setting the country's businesses back by around $1.2 billion per year.
That is a lot of income lost to an avoidable problem.
However, in addition to being avoidable, this problem is also "hidden" in many businesses.
Phillip Collins, head of workplace services at the Australian Drug Foundation, said that employers and HR departments "simply don't have enough information to attribute the days of work their staff are missing as being due to drug and alcohol use".
He also said that substance abuse can be particularly tricky to monitor and manage if it's being done outside of work hours.
The Australian Drug Foundation's paper offers a series of suggestions for employers who are interested in mitigating this issue.
First of all, it states that targeting "problem" employees is not the way to go. If you put in place best practice programs that involve everyone in the business, you have a much better chance of making progress.
These drug and alcohol programs should also be tailored to your workplace. Mr Collins said that all businesses have their own "unique customs, practices and conditions". These impact the culture of your workplace, and will determine which approaches to this issue will work and which will not.
A sound, formal, written alcohol and drug policy; education and training; confidential counselling and treatment services; and an ongoing evaluation of alcohol and other drug programs should all be included in your business's strategy to combat this problem.
Introducing a business health insurance policy is another way you can demonstrate to your workers that their health and wellbeing is important to you and the successful functioning of your business.
HICA has years of experience helping Australian companies to find the business health plans that best suit their needs. Contact us today and find out how we can help you do the same!