Substance Abuse: Workplace Safety

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that substance abuse by workers is a problem at U.S. workplaces. According to OSHA, 12.9 million of the 17.2 million illegal drug users age 18 or older were employed either full or part time in 2005. In addition, the agency says between 10 and 20% of workers who die on the job tested positive for alcohol or other drugs. Drug use by employees can have financial ramifications as well. The Office of National Drug Control Policy at the White House states that the economic cost of drug abuse in the U.S. was estimated at $193 billion in 2007, including $120 billion in lost productivity. Drug use by employees also resulted in $11 billion in healthcare costs in 2007. Some of these costs may be a result of workers with substance abuse problems who move from one job to another in a relatively short period of time, and full time workers with a drug or alcohol problem who are more prone to miss work due to illness or injury. OSHA says that businesses can help address the avoidable problem of employee drug abuse by implementing drug-free workplace programs aimed at helping workers maintain their safety and health.

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Post By Barry Nixon (262 Posts)

W. Barry Nixon is the COO, the leading background screening information portal and online worldwide directory of professional background screening firms and Suppliers to the background screening industry. He co-authored the landmark book, Background Screening & Investigations: Managing Hiring Risk from the HR and Security Perspective. He also is the publisher of award winning newsletters, The Background Buzz and The Global Background Screener, and the author of the Background Checks column in PI Magazine.

In addition, Barry is a past recipient of the elite ‘Top 25 Influential People in Security’ by Security Magazine and past Co-Chair, International Committee for the National Association for Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). He currently serves as a Global Ambassador for NAPBS.

You can contact Barry at 1-949-770-5264 or online at