Why Your Business Needs SAE – Some Startling Statistics

Did You Know…Occupational Health & Safety Act states: 

  • Employers are RESPONSIBLE for health, safety, and welfare of employees
  • Employers must MINIMIZE OR ELIMINATE ALL SAFETY RISKS that have the potential to harm employees
  • Workplaces can be found LIABLE for irresponsible and negligent actions of employees who may be under the influence of a substance

Federal & Provincial Human Rights Legislation: 

  • Current or former dependence on drugs or alcohol is considered a DISABILITY under the federal act. Legislation prohibits DISCRIMINATION based on disability

What is Problematic Substance Use Costing Your Workplace? 

Problematic substance use carries economic, societal and health costs. Many of these costs are borne by employers. Problematic substance use does not discriminate; it can affect workplaces small and large alike. Problematic substance use costs your workplace through increased:

  • Absenteeism
  • Sick leave
  • Presenteeism
  • Disability claims
  • Benefit costs
  • Insurance claims
  • Overtime pay for other staff having to carry extra workload
  • Workers’ compensation claims
  • Costs associated with replacing damaged equipment
  • Litigation

It is important to note that all the above impact your workplace, regardless of whether alcohol or other drugs are used in a problematic manner on or off the job.

Return on Investment 

Addiction treatment is cost effective and achieves sharp reductions in workplace related problems including absenteeism and productivity. While reviewing the costs of setting up a program to address problematic substance use that impacts the workplace, employers should consider the benefits of investing in a program versus the costs of failing to take action. The average economic value per employee associated with problematic substance use treatment is presented in the following table:

Table 3: Workplace Cost-Benefit of Addressing Problematic Substance Use per Employee per Annum* Before(baseline) After treatment(61 days post) 
Absenteeism $8,100 $2,734
Tardiness $932 $312
Conflict with managers $411 $193
Conflict with co-workers $460 $193
Lost productivity $2,916 $1,147
Aggregate value  $12, 819 (US $)  $4,614 (US $) 

* Note: Economic value calculation based on an average salary of US$45,000 plus a 50% fringe benefit rate.

General Stats:

  • Problem drinkers 2-3x more likely to have industrial accidents*
  • 8.1 billion lost per year in absenteeism related to substance abuse**
  • 46 % of MVA fatalities alcohol-related*
  • 4.1 billion per year in health care costs**

* Centre for Addiction and Mental Heath
**Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse

Approximately—7.4 percent of the population —meet the diagnostic criteria for alcoholism (Gran et al. 1994) SAMSA. Population research ranges from a low of 5% to a high of 12% for dependency diagnostics– alcohol and substances