One in 10 small businesses had employees show up for work last year while under the influence of at least one controlled substance, according to a new study by Employers Holdings Inc.
Small-business owners reported that alcohol, marijuana and prescription painkillers were the most common substances employees used.
“Business owners today are rightfully concerned about the use of illegal or judgment impairing substances in their workplaces. It’s a disturbing trend that we have seen developing over the past several years with the rise in prescription opioids and the increasing legalization of marijuana,” said Employers Chief Operating Officer Stephen V. Festa.
“Employees under the influence of these substances in the workplace not only pose a potential danger to themselves, but also to everyone else around them,” he added.
And small-business owners agree.
More than three-quarters of those surveyed said they agree it is dangerous for their employees to be under the influence of marijuana, prescription painkillers, alcohol and illicit narcotics, such as heroin and cocaine, while at work. More than half of the survey respondents said over-the-counter pain medications could also pose a danger to their employees.
“To those of us in the workers compensation insurance industry, prescription opioid abuse is of particular concern,” Festa added. “The Centers for Disease Control has reported that more people die from prescription painkillers than from heroin or cocaine. Opioid addiction has been linked to decreased worker productivity, as well as making workplaces less safe, prolonging disability claims, and increasing the risk of death from overdoses.”
All figures were collected by International Communications Research’s thinksmall Survey, a national quarterly telephone omnibus survey. Interviews were completed with a nationally representative sample of 502 small businesses that have fewer than 100 employees. Fieldwork was conducted Nov. 12-26, 2013.
Employers Holdings Inc. is a holding company with subsidiaries that are specialty providers of workers comp insurance and services focused on select small businesses engaged in low-to-medium hazard industries. Insurance is offered by Employers Insurance Co. of Nevada, Employers Compensation Insurance Co., Employers Preferred Insurance Co. and Employers Assurance Co., all rated A- (Excellent) by A.M. Best.
Source: Employers Holdings Inc.