There are essentially six different important reasons for DOT drug and alcohol training besides
Improved Productivity. Employees with drug and alcohol addictions experienced tremendous productivity drop-offs, but there is much more to this story than DOT supervisors realize. The reality is that employees with drug and alcohol addictions appear to perform better…yes, I said better…than the average employee in the early stages of the disease, during what is know has the adaptive stage. You can see this phenomenon illustrated by one of handouts supplied to you in the DOT Training Course or the Non-DOT Training course. We insert this valuable handout in both.
Why is it that employees are graded by supervisors as though they are performing better and above the occupational norm in the early stages of their illness? It’s because alcohol and drug abuse in the early stages operates as a stress management mechanism and a “social lubricant”, and these two things contribute to employees being perceived—not perform—but perceived as above average in capability and desirability among their immediate supervisors grading there performance. They “hail fellow well met” individuals in many instances, confident in their abilities, energized, and leadership-like in their pursuit of occupational success.
Of course, not all alcoholics behave as described above, but enough do that the phenomenon of “above average performance” is perceived by supervisor personnel.
It the later stages, alcoholics may be completely dysfunctional, but many organizations retain them because of their past history of occupational success discussed above. Obviously, this is a very insidious process.
Billions of dollars are lost each year to direct and indirect costs of alcoholism and drug addictions, and the amount of money saved is sometimes impossible to measure because these financial resources are called “dollars recovered from loss” – what is the amount of money saved from a fork lift not killing a fellow worker, who otherwise may have been killed accidentally by a drunk equipment operator? It’s not measureable, but we know the risk is there.
The dissolution of this risk is the associated cost benefit. This can be measured in comparative studies between companies, and that is indeed where the truth lies.
In recovery, it has been observed by occupational alcoholism experts and employee assistance professionals, that employees bounce back and become better than well.
An employee who has always performed on par, once in treatment, typically performs above par. This is because of the “recovery effect” on all parts of an employee’s life, especially improvements in mental health. DOT Supervisor Training may not typically discuss this issue, but any experience supervisor has witnessed it over the span of their career.
Some alcoholics drink alcoholically from the first drink, and for others it takes years to reach the middle stages of the illness. And, still with others, you could not make some people an alcoholic even if forced them to drink everyday with gun pointed to their head. In other words, some are immune and resistant to the illness.
Employees have family members who could have alcoholism. (Which makes it a good idea to train and education employees with drug awareness education.) Education of supervisors means eventually that that these family members are positively affected by the education offer in DOT Supervisor Training
When DOT supervisor training results in the empowerment of managers to confront employees, family systems are positively affected indirectly. And what about your own drinking pattern? And what about the supervisor’s own family members? Yes, information has a relay affect, and some supervisors achieving clarity on what addiction is all about, may act in more assertive and effective ways to intervene with teenagers, a spouse, or a parent affected by acute chronic alcoholism or some other addiction.
You can learn more about DOT Training of Supervisors or Non-DOT training for alcohol and drug abuse for supervisors, and any of the multiple formats for delivering this education at these links.