Keep your business off the liability radar!

by admin on September 27, 2010

Fontana, CA–Business liability is ever increasing.  As the country becomes more litigious, the liability costs associated with doing business continues to soar!  Business insurance, workers comp, malpractice, errors and omissions, business legal consultations, sick leave, friction among employees, and employee safety are just a few of the costs associated with doing business.

One problem that can cut down on all of the above problems would be having a Drug Free Workplace.  By having a drug free workplace your costs on workers comp, legal, employee safety, and business insurance will be substantially lower.  There are many businesses that are required by law to drug test.  However, there are many that are not.  Those are the businesses this article is directed towards.

For example, warehouses are a huge part of our national infrastructure, every city has warehouses.  Many are operated by forklift drivers, cranes, electric palette jacks, and trucks.   Let’s say and employee comes into work as he does every night at 6pm to work his regular 8 hour shift.  Tonight is different; he took Vicoden that was prescribed last week by his doctor for neck and shoulder pain.  He jumps on the electric pallet jack and not having the same coordination as when he is sober, he flies around the corner and ends up in a head on collision with another pallet jack!  Both people are seriously injured and sent to the hospital.

In this situation, there will be workers comp, business liability, damages, and major safety issues associated with this accident.  If families decide they want to sue, your company is 100% liable for the damages and potential fallout.  This could result in millions of dollars of damage over one small white pill the size of a dime.  This can potentially also damage the company’s public image.

If that does not get your attention this will, “Seventeen percent of employees surveyed across five different work sites reported situations that imply prescription drug misuse.” Also  “Fifteen percent of illicit drug users and 6% of heavy alcohol users report that they had gone to work high or a little drunk in the past year.”  Both studies were conducted by SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).

What would prevent this?  Well, that is hard to say as we can never 100% prevent something like this from happening, however, if your company had a Drug Free Workplace policy in place, this would have taken the liability off the company, and possibly prevented the whole accident in the first place.   If there was a policy in place, there should be a clause that in any safety sensitive position (in this case the pallet jack operators),  would have a duty to report any medications they are prescribed that can be a safety hazard.  It is easy to tell if you look on the side of the bottle, if it warns you about driving or operating machinery, there is a good case it will have an effect on coordination.

Training is the key to ANY workplace policies, without training, they are only worthless papers.  During Drug Free Workplace policy training, employees are instructed that if they are to receive medications that may impair their abilities to do their normal job function, they are to ask their physician prescribing the medication to write a letter stating if they can perform their normal duties.  It is crucial that the physician write their job duty on the letter to remove the liability from the company.  If the physician does not feel comfortable, they need to write that as well.  Generally companies will give the employee other non-safety sensitive duties until they can return to their regular job, pending the doctor’s clearance to do so.

The second and most important part of the Drug Free Workplace is regular drug testing.  This is the number one deterrent and works as a checks and measures approach to ensure that the policy is being followed.  It is a deterrent as the employees don’t know when a random drug test will be done and they have the potential of termination if they are caught.  If there are very few to no positives after monthly testing, then the policy is being enforced and is working.  This can potentially lower your liability costs as was discussed earlier.

In the world of business, it is so important to have good people working for your company.  After all, it is the people who make up the company.   To ensure you have the best, it is your responsibility as an officer of the business to make sure you are doing everything you can to keep your employees safe, and your business clear of liabilities.

Drug Free Network-Fontana, California would be happy to discuss and offer a complimentary needs assessment and policy review.  We are a full service drug testing company that specializes in on-site drug testing.  On-site testing removes the liability of your employees leaving for hours at a time during random drug testing.   Drug Free Network is also available to address educational, civic, and other groups on a variety of drug related topics, including drugs and teens and the myriad of treatments, drug abuse assistance, and how government agencies are working to combat the prevalence of drug abuse.

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