Comparing the Costs and Benefits of Drug Testing

by | Aug 6, 2020 | 0 comments

The common risks for employers who do not leverage drug testing include higher turnover, decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and a greater number of workers’ compensation claims. Below we’ll highlight each of these main risks and discuss the related costs to the employer and how drug testing can help mitigate each risk.


Risk # 1: Worker Turnover

Substance abuse among workers can increase employee turnover. According to a 2007 study by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, substance abusers change jobs as often as three times annually.


Organizations with a high worker turnover will end up spending more on recruiting, hiring and training, as they continually replace workers. Data from the SHRM poll shows that organizations that implemented drug testing saw about a 16 percent decrease in employee turnover rates.


Risk # 2: Productivity

It is no surprise that substance abuse decreases worker productivity. It could cost an organization thousands of wasted dollars each payroll to fully compensate workers who are not operating at expected capacity.


In fact, according to Working Partners, National Conference Proceedings Report sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Small Business Association (SBA) and Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), has shown that substance abusers are 33 percent less productive than their peers. According to the SHRM poll, of the organizations that began drug testing, 19 percent experienced an uptick in worker productivity.


Risk # 3: Absenteeism

Substance abusers are also more likely to be absent from work. A high rate of absenteeism costs employers more money paid for sick days and leaves employers with less overall output. According to the Working Partners, National Conference Proceedings Report, substance abusers are 2.5 times more likely to be absent for more than eight days a year than regular workers.


The SHRM poll shows that a drug testing program can lower absenteeism. For those organizations with absenteeism rates greater than 15%, implementing drug testing reduced absenteeism by about 50% overall.


Risk # 4: Worker’s Compensation Claims

Substance abuse in the workplace may also lead to accidents and injuries, which results in costly workers’ compensation claims. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute on Drug Abuse show that substance abusers as much as double the cost of worker’s compensation claims for their employers.


Again, the SHRM poll respondents who had a high rate of workers’ compensation incidences saw an average decrease in workers’ compensation claims of 50 percent, after implementing drug testing.


As you can see from this cost and benefit analysis, the costs associated with not performing drug testing are far greater than the costs of implementing drug testing. There is a traceable ROI for drug testing in the form of decreased turnover, absenteeism and worker’s compensation claims and increased productivity.

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