A recent survey from the National Safety Council (NSC) has revealed a gap between employer perceptions and the reality of employee substance abuse. According to the survey, addictions and substance use disorders can cost businesses between $2,600 and $13,000 for each affected employee. However, only 24 percent of employers believe that drug misuse is a problem that impacts their bottom lines.
Employees who abuse alcohol and other substances are more likely to miss work, be less productive and experience higher health care costs. Here are some facts from the survey that highlight the ways that substance abuse can affect your business:
• Substance use disorders and addictions cost businesses and taxpayers more than $440 billion every year.
• Employees in the construction, entertainment, recreation and food service industries are twice as likely to have a substance use disorder compared to the average U.S. employee.
• Health care costs for employees who misuse prescription drugs are three times higher than for other workers.
• Employees with a substance use disorder miss nearly 50 percent more days of work than their peers.
• Seventy-five percent of all adults with a substance use disorder are currently in the workforce.
If you believe that one of your employees suffers from a substance use disorder, it’s in your best interest to help him or her get treatment. Experts have shown that outside concern is a large factor in getting individuals with substance use disorders into treatment. Additionally, the NSC survey found that businesses can save up to $8,400 by providing assistance to these employees.
The latest numbers released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that the rate of workplace injuries and illnesses are the lowest they’ve been in 13 years.
The BLS’s Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) showed that, in 2015, the rate for private industry workers was 3.0 recordable cases per 100 full-time equivalent workers—down from 3.2 in 2014. The rate for state and local government workers, conversely, increased slightly, from 5.0 in 2014 to 5.1 in 2015. Combined, the overall rate dropped from 3.4 in 2014 to 3.3 in 2015.
Despite an increasing population, the total number of cases dropped as well. The BLS estimates that there were 3.66 million injury and illness cases in 2015, down from 3.68 million in 2014.
The most notable outlier was in the public health care sector. For instance, public nursing home workers experienced an injury and illness rate of 12.6, while their private sector counterparts experienced a rate of 6.8.
Ballot measures to expand the use of marijuana passed in eight states last month, bringing the total number of states allowing some form of legalized marijuana use to 28, including the District of Columbia.
The following offers a brief summary of those ballot measures:
• Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota passed ballot measures that allowed or expanded the use of medicinal marijuana.
• California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada passed ballot measures that legalized recreational marijuana use.
• Voters in a ninth state, Arizona, rejected a ballot measure that would have legalized recreational marijuana use. (more…)
On May 12, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule requiring certain employers to electronically submit data from their work-related injury records to OSHA. OSHA also indicated its intention to publish this employer information on a public website. Fearing that the publicity of workplace injury and illnesses would motivate employers to discourage their employees from reporting injuries and illnesses, OSHA included three major anti-retaliation provisions in the final rule.
The anti-retaliation provisions were initially set to become effective on Aug. 10, 2016. After considerable pushback from employers across multiple industries, OSHA delayed enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions to Nov. 1, 2016. However, on Oct. 12, 2016, OSHA announced it would delay enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions a second time. The second delay was granted to allow a federal judge sufficient time to review a lawsuit that was filed to challenge the new anti-retaliation provisions. The new enforcement deadline is now set for Dec. 1, 2016.
A study recently published in the Journal of Finance suggests that companies facing money problems were more likely to experience workplace injuries, which, in turn, compounded those companies’ financial struggles.
Specifically, the study examined data gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses and found a number of correlations:
• The workplace injury rate increased when the company received a negative cash flow shock.
• The workplace injury rate decreased when the company received a positive cash flow shock.
• As workplace injuries increased, company value decreased substantially.
Experts suggest that OSHA officials might use this information as they conduct investigations—using a company’s financial condition as a possible indicator of an increased likelihood of workplace injuries.
And, given how costly workplace injuries are to companies—in terms of workers’ compensation costs, safety repairs and upgrades, and fines—companies should remain vigilant about workplace safety, even in the face of a negative cash flow shock.