Business Services

A Short Intro to Occupational Medicine

As an employer, you have a moral obligation to take care of your employee’s overall health and well-being, both physically and mentally. You should also make sure that their work environment is as safe as possible to avoid accidents and injuries. However, did you know that approximately 10% of injuries and even deaths in the workplace can be attributed to drug or alcohol abuse? So, aside from their annual physical checkups and health insurance, make sure to conduct workplace drug and alcohol testing regularly.

What is Occupational Medicine

Occupational medicine, also referred to as occupational health, is a subspecialty of preventive medicine. It focuses on the health, safety, and performance of workers, as well as the treatment of workers with work-related illnesses and injuries.

Occupational health physicians have more extensive training when it comes to diagnosing and treating work-related injuries than most primary care doctors. They can also work with businesses, regulators, employees, public health, insurers, and other occupational health and safety professionals to create safer workplaces.

How Can Alcohol and Drug Abuse Impact Workplaces?

Alcohol and drug abuse do not only affect people’s personal lives. It can also have several adverse effects on their workplaces, such as the following.

  • Accidents are more likely to occur if inebriated employees get to control heavy machinery at work. Too much alcohol or drug use can affect a person’s behaviour. So, relationships with co-workers and clients can suffer due to the bad behaviour of some employees.
  • It also causes lower quantity and quality of work because of poor decision making of some alcohol affected employees, resulting in reduced workplace productivity.
  • Companies burdened with long-term alcohol-related problems contribute to poor workplace economy, as it attributes to a loss of skills and employees and compensation and employer liabilities, as well as the related expenses for training new employees as a replacement for the ones lost.

It is also part of your legal obligation as an employer to respond to alcohol use and other related actions and behaviours that can cause harm in the workplace. Likewise, employees also should take good care of the health and safety of not only themselves but also those they work with.

Advantages of Conducting Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing

Although many still regard drug and testing at the workplace to be controversial, it has many advantages such as:

  • Better workplace safety because of the decreased chance of accidents
  • Improved employee morale
  • Increased work productivity due to early detection and resolution of problems that can affect an employee’s job performance

Workplace drug and alcohol testing techniques involve detecting drugs in urine samples. This includes the detection of Benzodiazepines, Amphetamine, Cannabinoids, Cocaine, and Opiates. All laboratory test results from the alcohol and drug test will be checked and evaluated by a medical review officer (MRO).

Final Thoughts

Companies such as Resile provide assistance to organisations with regards to all aspects of occupational health to help maximise the health, well-being, and productivity of the workforce.

They can also help you navigate through the often complex injury classification guidelines to avoid incorrect classification of medical treatment injuries, lost time injuries, restricted duties injuries, and first aid injuries.