‘Tis the Season for Flu Shots: Tips for Employers

Encourage employees to vaccinate with (or without) an onsite event

It’s time to get shot; make sure your employees don’t miss out. We’re talking of course about the flu vaccine, that yearly preventative measure that today is more important than ever. The prospect of contracting both COVID-19 and this year’s flu strain is too potentially dire to imagine. Can you imagine enduring the ‘twindemic’ triggered by a dual diagnosis of COVID and influenza?

All together now: SHUDDER.

As an employer, you can inspire members of your workforce to choose vaccination and thus take a proactive step that can lead to lower absenteeism rates companywide. Like COVID, influenza is not welcome in the workplace. Unlike COVID, there’s something we can do as a society about contracting influenza. That begins and ends with the flu shot.

But how effective really is the flu shot at preventing influenza – and who should make absolutely sure to receive it? Dispelling the below myths will give your employees the confidence they need in order to stick those arms out (literally).

Myths surrounding the flu shot include:

  • We don’t know which strain of flu will be most prevalent, so the flu shot likely won’t be that effective. While it’s true that different strains of flu exist and that it’s difficult to state for sure which will be the most dangerous year-to-year, getting the flu shot is a solid idea because, according to the Centers for Disease Control, each vaccine includes immunity against four strains. That’s a decent gamble!
  • I don’t get sick a lot, so I don’t need this shot. This has always been a very loose argument because it only takes one time contracting the flu to change one’s mind forever. The flu can be extremely serious. Thousands – in fact, tens of thousands die of the flu each year. Even in mild cases, it wrecks a person’s week (or even two weeks).
  • My kids get the shot, so I don’t need to. Who is going to take care of said kids if you’re laid up because of the flu? Enough said.
  • My child is too young to get the flu shot. Babies aged 6 months and older can receive the flu shot – and they may be eligible for the nasal vaccine. That means no needles involved!
  • I always get sick from the flu shot. While some people have mild symptoms they attribute to the flu shot, those symptoms are much less serious than those that can potentially occur with the full-blown flu. The virus contained in the flu shot vaccine has been inactivated. Any side effects from the shot should be mild.
  • I hate needles; if I can’t get the nasal vaccine, I won’t do it. For those aged 2-49, the nasal vaccine is often an option. Those who are pregnant should opt for a syringe instead. If a person really can’t stand needles, he or she should talk with a medical professional regarding the positives and negatives of that year’s nasal version.

Now that we’ve dispelled those myths, let’s be clear: there’s an extra reason to make sure everyone eligible receives the flu vaccine this year. A twindemic of COVID/INFLUENZA is threatening our nation. Employers can help in the fight to prevent a ‘twindemic’ outbreak. Make sure your workers understand the benefits of the flu shot and where to receive the vaccination. Used to hosting an annual on-site clinic but forced to skip it this year? Motivate your workforce in ways other than shot proximity. We know this is a very real challenge; about 30% of our clients who host onsite clinics have had to cancel due to an inability to meet on-site minimums.

There’s no cure yet for COVID; it’s time we get creative and inspire those around us to take healthy inoculation initiative. We’re all hoping for an end to COVID. In the meantime, here’s how to motivate your staff to inoculate against the malady we often can prevent: flu.

  • Tell everyone how to get the shot. For free. The flu shot is a preventative service. It’s covered at 100% when the member visits a participating pharmacy or retail location. With social distancing recommendations still in effect in many states, look for more drive-through opportunities.
  • Be transparent regarding where people may not want to receive the shot. Be sure to share the possibility that a primary care physician may possibly charge a copay for an office visit if they choose to go that route. Sharing this information is similar to that of advising those who opt to visit the emergency room for every sniffle to choose a primary visit or walk-in clinic instead. When cost is an issue, information is invaluable.
  • Got a shot? -You get a smoothie! (Hopefully the employee will choose the Vitamin C-rich option over that chocolate brownie peanut butter bomb on the menu). Grocery gift cards make a great reward as well. Consider gifting wellness baskets stocked full of wholesome goodies: oranges, hand sanitizer and tissues are favorites. While you’re at it, print out some flyers about flu shots, telehealth, and EAP. Stuff those in the baskets – people need something to read while they’re eating those orange segments.
  • Post signage – If you do have employees on-site, put informational signage in well-trafficked areas. Download free flyers from the CDC here: https://bit.ly/2H0GNNW.
  • Educate, educate, educate – Influenza and COVID-19 are both respiratory illnesses. Consider the decision to vaccinate this way: We do not, at the time this blog was written, possess a vaccine or powerfully effective treatment for COVID-19. We do, however, have the flu shot. Not electing to receive the flu shot leaves an individual doubly vulnerable.

Most onsite clinics are already scheduled, so that route may be out of the question for this year. Go ahead and mark your calendar for Summer of 2021 as the pivotal moment you reach out to schedule the next one, however. Hopefully by then we will have an effective vaccine for COVID-19 as well.

We understand that in this current health climate it can be especially overwhelming to guide your employees toward healthy decisions like vaccination. Need assistance motivating employees to receive the flu shot? Not sure where to start? Usually have an onsite clinic but not hosting one due to a remote worker shift? -I’m here for you. Contact me (Trish Blocker) at 727-522-7777.

Pandemic Pragmatism: Return To Work Advice for Employers

This is a message to employers who look out upon a sea of empty cubicles and yearn for normalcy. We understand the temptation to welcome employees back in droves. Business is not as usual, and we all feel it: no sector is immune to the effects of COVID-19. As we grapple with our ‘new normal,’ it is imperative that employers handle the return of employees to the physical workplace with proverbial ‘kid gloves.’

Here are some safeguards to consider as you reopen your doors to the employee population:

  • Constant vigilance is key. That employee who tested negative yesterday could arrive at the office this morning as a COVID-19-infected individual. Therefore, daily health checks are necessary, and the EEOC has ruled that employers may ask workers whether they are in fact suffering from COVID-similar symptoms. *Compliance with the ADA is still mandatory; any medical information gleaned from such daily checks becomes part of the individual’s confidential medical record.
  • Thanks to human ingenuity, we already have multiple options for these checks, including:
    • COVID-19 and antibody testing – Antibody testing is not, at this moment, FDA approved. It demands a blood draw and can take days to reveal results. A person may test negative for COVID-19 one day and positive the next, making such testing an unlikely option for regular use.
    • Medical screenings conducted by medical personnel – In this scenario, employees stay in their vehicle while a medical professional takes their temperature and administers a brief questionnaire. Anyone with a temperature at or below 100.4 is cleared to enter the building.
    • Non-contact thermometer at building entrance. Not every person infected with COVID-19 has a fever. However, the thermometer check will identify some infected individuals.
    • App use requiring daily report of symptoms, exposure, and temperature – Responses are recorded. If suspected COVID-19 is identified, correct company personnel is notified.
  • Remember that discriminatory practices are not admissible just because a pandemic is at large. However, individuals aged 65 or older may be given more flexibility than compared with your younger employee population. Those within the older age group are at higher risk to suffer complications from COVID-19. Treatment of demographic groups such as pregnant women and those with family responsibilities is discussed at length here.

Return to work symbolizes a return to normal, and that is what we as a society yearn for during this age of uncertainty. Still, don’t rush the Welcome Back celebration. Work with your HR department to outline clear and concise policies that protect the health of everyone in the organization. For assistance, contact W3 Benefits and Wellness Strategist Trish Blocker at tblocker@w3ins.com or 727-522-7777 x173.

Put Down the Snack Cakes – National Nutrition Month

Welcome to National Nutrition Month! Grab an apple, take a crunch, and read onward as we share healthy workplace outreach strategies. No, you can’t snatch Twinkies from desktops or institute a “no fries” rule in the employee manual. However, by sharing reputable dietary information and committing to fostering a healthier workplace environment, you can make a real dent in that employee pizza habit.

First, remember that you are not the Food Police. A healthy diet should contain a variety of foods from different sources; that means those diets composed of one or two items are not advisable. Who remembers the grapefruit diet (shudder)? Healthy eating is not just a bandwagon – it’s a lifestyle that allows for plenty of choice.

Plenty of medical evidence exists to prove that a healthy, well-rounded diet leads to better health outcomes. You can tell people that – but it won’t matter if they haven’t eaten since yesterday and there’s a box of donuts beckoning in the breakroom. You can get your employees to ‘buy in’ to the nutrition data without causing a run on the last cruller. Here are a few ways to nudge your employee population toward healthier choices.

  • Just say ‘no’ to the following: donuts, cronuts, croissants, muffins….you get the picture. But no one wants healthy birthday cake! We agree – so choose your battles. Healthy birthday cakes can be a real bummer. Instead of providing one for every birthday, why not celebrate employees monthly with a communal cake? And replace those donuts with ingredients for serve-yourself yogurt parfaits. Low fat yogurt, granola, fresh fruit and chia seeds make for a healthy, filling breakfast.
  • Look at your catering menu. When you order food for meetings, are you offering gluten-free and vegetarian options? The classic ‘sub sandwich ring’ is likely not going to be the number one choice. Remember that adage ‘An army runs on its stomach’ and take it to heart. Your employees and clients may be satiated by the double chocolate cookies you purchased for dessert – or they may be so drowsy that they fall asleep. We dare you to take this moment to ask for the sale.
  • Now for an examination of the vending machine. Can you replace those sugary, preservative-filled candy bars with high quality dark chocolate options? Are there baked options for the chips that everyone seems to be crunching at 4pm? Is there room in the company budget to simply stock a bowl with fresh fruit and invite employees to eat it free of charge? It doesn’t take huge gestures to nudge an employee population to make better nutritional choices.

Workplaces that go above and beyond the everyday nutritional hacks may opt to invite an organization like Weight Watchers to host meetings at the office. They may hire a nutritionist to do a lunch and learn presentation – complete with a healthy gratis menu. Whatever you decide, know that a healthier workplace is possible. For more tips, put down the snack cakes and contact W3 Wellness Coordinator Trish Blocker at 727-522-7777 ext. 173 or tblocker@w3ins.com.

Find more information here: https://www.eatright.org/

New Year, No Alcohol? Embracing Dry January in the Workplace

After all the holiday toasts, hot toddies and themed party cocktails, is it time for your workplace to go dry? The movement dubbed Dry January ironically stems from a land full of pubs and pilsners; since 2013, England has spread its message of New Year, No Alcohol worldwide. It’s catching on, and breweries are noticing; according to CNBC, many are now promoting low alcohol or even no alcohol alternatives.

To jump on the no alcohol bandwagon and encourage employees to put down the pints (at least for a while), consider the following strategies:

  • Find a Dry Champion. Have you heard anyone talking about going dry? Ask them to lead the campaign and recruit others.
  • Design a pledge-signing event and make it a focal point in your break room. Those who sign the pledge will have a visible reminder from Monday through Friday about their commitment to forgoing alcohol.
  • Circulate a quiz to help employees identify how much they are actually drinking. Heavy drinkers can see definite benefits from going dry, including decreased liver fat and lower cholesterol levels. Others report better sleep and concentration – both which could affect workplace performance.
  • Consider crafting a self assessment to showcase how alcohol changes the body. It’s very possible that your workforce doesn’t know how many drinks can result in impairment; usually, it’s fewer than people think. Share this article from Good Morning America to illustrate the health connection.
  • Organize a tasting for your employees – a sort of happy hour that involves plenty of ‘mocktails.’ Have a resident mixologist who’s always the life of the party? Ask him/her to judge the competition. Employees can feature their best creations (pineapple and orange juice with a splash of cherry juice is a great place to begin).
  • Have a competitive employee roster? Give incentives. Who can stay dry the longest? Hand out mocktail ingredients at the kickoff party. There are so many ways to be creative about going dry. Tailoring your strategy to what works for the individuals involved is always a great idea.

Take January to dry levels, and you could see a more productive workplace. For more information about how you can help your workplace go try, call W3’s wellness coordinator Trish Blocker at 727-522-7777.

Food Poisoning: A Survival Guide

‘Tis the season for tummy trauma. Holiday grazers, pay special attention to this article. Your habit of digging into tepid sausage dip left out during that marathon Christmas party can cause major issues. Enjoy yourself without ingesting a hearty dose of salmonella, parasite or virus. Here’s a survival guide to avoid food poisoning during this time of year and beyond – and what to do if you’re infected.

Step One: Thou shall adhere to the rules of food safety – namely, the two-hour rule. This is not to be confused with the five-second rule, which dictates that any food dropped on the ground is safe to eat if consumed before five seconds. (This rule is false, by the way). If food has sat out for more than two hours, throw it away. That’s right, toss even the delectable prime rib that fits so snugly into those leftover potato rolls. It’s not worth the risk. After refrigerating your favorites, eat them within three or four days, and make sure to reheat. Ignore the steps inherent in Step One to your peril; doing so may result in Step Two.

Step Two: Even when you say ‘no’ to that late-hour shrimp cocktail appetizer, food poisoning can still strike. Know the symptoms that can arise within hours or sneak up within days. Either way, this is not usually something you can ‘power through.’ How you feel will vary based on the severity and type of the poisoning, but one thing is for certain: You are going to feel lousy – and you likely will need to stay near a bathroom. This is where your medical plan savvy comes in handy. Consider telemedicine – that way, you won’t need to leave your home. If that is not an option, the primary care provider or convenient care clinic are likely your best bet. Only go to the ER if it is absolutely necessary.

Step Three: If you believe the offending food is still in your possession, throw it away before a household member can unwittingly infect themselves as well. Think your illness is due to a restaurant item? Call the restaurant. Most do not want to give their patrons a side of illness with their meal. Next, rest up. Don’t force yourself to do more than your energy level provides. The effects of food poisoning can linger, depending on the severity. Hopefully yours will prove short and mild.

Foodborne illness is a real threat to holiday hoopla. It causes approximately 3,000 deaths yearly in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Over a hundred thousand are sickened; some are hospitalized. Many others suffer in silence at home until the symptoms subside. If you experience fatigue, nausea, cramps, or diarrhea, there’s a possibility that you’ve fallen victim to food poisoning. May your bout be short and your health return as soon as possible!

What’s New in Smoking Cessation? Goodbye, Cigs – Hello, Healthier Employees

Did you know that nicotine is considered to be as addictive a substance as heroin or cocaine? No wonder many smokers find it difficult to quit. It’s a battle worth fighting, though. According to the American Cancer Society, smoking leads the way as a main cause of lung cancer. And anecdotally, employers report lost productivity from smokers who take multiple breaks to light up throughout the workday.

New advancements in smoking cessation offer novel ways to quit. Read below as we examine some of them, and then share the information with your workforce. We hope you’ll have an entire roster of quitters as a result.

Smartphone Apps – These vary immensely. Some simply offer quitting tips, while others take on a journal approach. Woke up and had a cigarette? -Log it. Avoided buying a pack? -Log that too; give yourself a pat on the back. Not dissimilar to a diet app that requires the user to log meals, the journal apps keep a person accountable. Whether this approach works is very individualistic, and not a lot of research has been done to demonstrate efficacy. However, if a person responds to text reminders that tell him to ‘stay strong and put down the cigarette,’ that method may work. A few of these apps to consider include LiveStrong and Quit for Life.

Behavioral Techniques – Heard of mindfulness? It’s a buzz word in the cessation realm now. Different behavioral techniques like mindfulness are being purported by some as quit aids. The idea of “self-expansion” is also being considered; this couples quitting with other positive events. Joined the company softball team? -It’s a great time to quit! Purchased a new home? -Why not make sure it’s free from soot? This strategy packages the ‘quit’ into an appealing event, in essence making the cessation action part of the positive occurrence.

Extensive research has not yet proved how effective the different techniques discussed above are, but preliminary results are promising for some individuals. It’s always a good idea to share a multitude of options with smokers, as what works for one person may not work for another. It’s the same with weight loss: some wouldn’t respond to a diet journal, as they would forget to write down every morsel of food consumed; for others, all it would take is a visible reminder of that 3,500 calorie day to change their behavior.

The tools are widely available. And even though employees looking to quit smoking have likely heard of the tried-and-true methods, it doesn’t hurt to remind them that quit lines, nicotine replacement therapy, prescription drugs and support groups are all examples. For more information about these cessation aids, visit https://bit.ly/2kcjq6D.

Watering the Dehydrated Workplace

It’s time to water those workers! Raise a glass of H20 (or two) with your employees, and you may well find that concentration levels increase. Lethargic workers find a sudden burst of energy. And Joe, who’s always calling out from his cubicle about that afternoon headache? He’s working away on a project, noggin feeling just fine.

Here’s why it’s so important to support good water intake:

  • Air conditioning is virtually everywhere in Florida – and it’s a hydration negative. AC units are designed to lower the atmospheric water content, and that phenomenon leads to people experiencing water loss via the skin or lungs. Yes, indoor workers lose less water than those whose tasks take them outside – but they are not immune to dehydration just because they’re cooler.
  • Outdoor workers face an ongoing risk – According to the Mayo Clinic, water intake requirements depend on the person. It’s a sure bet that a road crew working in August on the blacktop is going to need more water than the CPA in her fifth-floor office building. The much-touted recommendation ‘8 glasses a day’ is relatively sound, though some individuals definitely require more liquids. Some require less.  A good rule is for outdoor workers especially to stay ahead of thirst. Once one becomes thirsty, she is already mildly dehydrated.
  • Indoors or out, the dehydrated worker is likely not as productive as his water-swilling coworker. Our bodies cannot make the water we need in order to function optimally. Instead, it doles out symptoms to remind us to fill up those bottles. Lack of concentration is a commonly touted one, as is lethargy and headaches. None are helpful for work progress. Additionally, severe dehydration carries possible severe consequences that are much worse than lack of productivity.

What’s an employer to do? Consider a company-wide giveaway of stainless steel water bottles. (If you do opt for classic plastic, make sure they are BPA free. That’s a topic for another blog). Educate your workforce regarding dehydration symptoms. Encourage them to reach for a glass of water when they experience a lull in their day. Remind them that total liquid intake takes their food choices into account – thus that 2pm apple counts toward the hydration whole.

It could be that a good deal of workers are arriving to work dehydrated and leaving at the end of the workday in the same state. Make sure there’s water, water everywhere at the office, and that may be all it takes for on the job refreshment.

Outbreak: Measles in the Workplace

Hillsborough Identified as a ‘measles prone’ area

What if educating your employees could halt the outbreak of an infectious disease? Would you share vaccination information to help not only your workforce but the greater good? In an age where inoculating has become merely optional for some people and travelers visit countries with measles outbreaks and bring the germs back across our borders, diseases that were all but eradicated in the United States due to vaccination protocols are attempting an American comeback. Hillsborough County has been pinpointed as one of 25 counties prone to a measles outbreak.*

This is a potential health emergency. In 2000, measles was all but eradicated in the United States. Come 2019, we now have the highest incidence of cases in our nation since 1994; more than 830 have been identified this year so far. Measles is highly contagious and can lead to serious complications or death. The good news? The disease is hugely preventable. Here’s how to fight back.

  • Inform employees of their healthcare benefits – Vaccines fall under the umbrella of preventive services. That means they are covered at 100% through insurance, with no out of pocket costs associated to the employee or dependents if they go to a participating provider or pharmacy. There is an obvious reason for this. Vaccines are so important to society at large that it is dangerous for all individuals to not receive them. For more information about preventive services covered through insurance, visit: https://bit.ly/1OxO6qw
  • Take this opportunity to open up a wider discussion about healthcare – Flu shots and many other vaccines are covered as well. As any employer knows, working in close quarters with others means that germs are transmitted easily. The flu shot in particular does not offer full immunity to all strains of influenza, but it at least lessons a person’s chance of contracting the strain included in that year’s vaccine. Flu shots will be available in September.

Remember to remind employees that the costs for some health services may change if they choose to visit a physician or facility that is out of network. And for more information and guidance regarding vaccination and other health and wellness questions, contact Trish Blocker, CWWS, at tblocker@w3ins.com.  

*To view a list of the 25 counties identified as measles-prone by researchers, visit: https://wb.md/2Q8hvOm.

The Fittest Workplace on the Planet – Is it Yours?

Can your workplace contend for the title “Fittest Workplace on the Planet?” We’ve all heard of the benefits of physical activity on the individual: increased life span, whittled waistline and overall health improvement are just a few. When fit individuals are a collective employee force, you can expect productivity through the roof (and workers so strong they can nearly raise it).

While you don’t have to contend for Fittest Workplace on the Planet to reap the organizational benefits of physical fitness, a fitter workforce benefits everyone. Take the initiative and educate your employees. May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, so resources to help you on your quest are especially easy to find.

Start here: https://healthfinder.gov/nho/MayToolkit.aspx. Within this toolkit, you’ll discover the benefits of physical activity and how to motivate employees to jump on the ‘fitness bandwagon.’ Remind your employees that fitness isn’t relegated to the young; people can benefit from becoming fitter at any age.

Classic suggestions include educational snippets in your employee newsletter and information disseminated on organizational social media platforms. Bring speakers into the office who explain how to make exercise part of a busy lifestyle. And get creative – no two employee populations are the same, so what fits your employee roster may not fit another.

Here are some possibilities we’ve seen work. Take this list as an a la carte menu of fitness motivational options.

  •  Make it a competition! Can’t afford a fancy fitness tracker for every employee? Consider a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) event. Today’s cell phones have pedometers already programmed within. There are also downloadable pedometer apps available. Welcome employees to track their progress and give prizes for those who move the most. And no putting the device on the dog and letting him loose at a park (we’ve heard it happen).
  • Inspire others by having employees share their fitness journeys. Think about your employees for a moment. Has someone been taking the New Year’s resolutions seriously? Have they been exercising and seeing results? Have them share with the rest of their colleagues how their path toward fitness is progressing.
  • Sponsor a race for charity – or simply field a team and compete. Some businesses are full of runners and walkers who jump at the opportunity for a free race entry. Some go the proverbial ‘extra mile.’ We recently had a client hire a personal trainer to offer weekly training sessions to train employees for an upcoming 5K. This was well received and increased participation.  Go one step further and provide your athletes with shirts that advertise the business. It’s a win-win for fitness and advertising!
  • Don’t forget the biometric screening fair. If you’ve already hosted one for your employees, great. Physical activity can help lower blood pressure, among other health benefits. Following a biometric screening event with a fitness education and motivation campaign makes sense.
  • Ask your health insurance provider for more ideas. Trish Blocker from W3 Insurance has spent years counseling businesses to help improve employee activity levels. She has access to a host of resources and will be happy to provide an action plan that – while it may not land you the ‘World’s Fittest Workplace’ honors – will at least inch you closer to the title.

Be fit, friends.

Drug Testing in 2019

Cutting through the confusion

With record low unemployment and record high drug use in the American workforce, many employers are confused by the new marijuana laws. According to the latest National Safety Council study, approximately 15 million employees are struggling with some sort of substance abuse problem, including alcohol, marijuana, pain medication and other drugs. Although some industries have a higher incidence of drug abuse – such as construction, retail and the hospitality industry – no profession is immune to the dangers of drug abuse.

Evidently, many employers are faced with the challenge of how to define a drug testing policy along with translating the new marijuana laws. While the federally mandated employers’ policies are very specific and do not permit marijuana use of any type, many employers are ambivalent with respect to marijuana use.

Quest Diagnostics’ recent Drug Testing Index (DTI) shows workforce drug positivity at its highest rate in a decade. States that have recently enacted recreational marijuana laws have seen double-digit increases in the number of employees who test positive for marijuana. And because of our healthy economy, the job market has tightened, making it more difficult for employers to find new hires. As a result, some companies have chosen to drop marijuana from their testing panel altogether – taking the position “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Not surprisingly, states like Nevada, California and Massachusetts that have recently enacted recreational marijuana laws have seen a big spike in the number of employees who test positive for marijuana.

Be Informed

Every employer should be well informed when it comes to drug testing rules and requirements – including the legislation in their state.

The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) excludes from protection “an individual who is currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs” from its definition of an “individual with a disability.” As a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), taking marijuana excludes an employee from ADA protection.

When meeting with a prospective client, I always ask relevant questions in relation to their business. For instance, if they have safety sensitive employees, what type of work do they do? Are they a federal contractor? Do they employ DOT regulated drivers? This info is critical when determining what type of testing policy is recommended or required.

Many employers assume random drug testing is required in order to be compliant and to be eligible for the 5% workers’ comp premium discount. That is incorrect. Random testing is only required for those federal agencies like FAA, US Coast Guard, Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the like and FMCSA regulated businesses that employ federally regulated employees or are under a federal contract. Examples include DOT regulated drivers, including tour bus operators, Hazmat regulated companies, transportation companies, etc.

Explain their exposure

The cost of substance abuse in our nation exceeds $400 billion annually. Much of this cost is attributed to lost productivity, health care costs, workers’ comp related injuries and workplace accidents, just to name a few. For a small business that sustains just one serious workers’ comp claim, that could impact their profit margin exponentially.

Did you know?

  • Health care costs are 3 times higher for drug users.
  • Workers’ comp claims occur 5 times more often among drug users.
  • Drug users are absent from work 16 times more often with 8 or more days of sick leave annually
  • Drug users steal 4 times more often from employers and coworkers.
  • Workplace accidents occur 3.6 times more often among drug users.

The National Safety Council provides a free Substance Use Cost Calculator for employers on their website. By providing industry data, an employer gets a report outlining the potential financial impact substance abuse can have on their business. This report is a valuable tool for every business owner.

https://www.nsc.org/forms/substance-use-employer-calculator

Implement a prudent testing policy

For many employers, there can be some apprehension when writing and implementing a policy of any type. It can be confusing, time consuming and complicated. Many insurance companies partner with third-party administrators like ASAP Programs to structure a program for their clients. This is beneficial for both the agency and their clients because it provides a no-nonsense approach to creating a compliant drug testing program and removes much of the guesswork associated with internal administration.

A business that strives for a Drug Free Workplace will reap the benefits ofa healthier and more productive workforce while setting the tone for a positive company image.

For additional info on our drug testing and background check services, please contact me in the Orlando office.