Safety was a major reason for the development of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at Chamberlain, a paving contractor in Laurel, MD that specializes in parking lot maintenance. During a three-year period, the company’s increases in Workers Compensation and Commercial General Liability exceeded 100%. By implementing a Safety Awareness Program, the company saw an immediate and significant decrease in the frequency of Workers Comp claims and vehicular accidents.
Because Chamberlain’s heavy equipment and trucks travel daily on interstate highways around metropolitan Washington D.C., the owners implemented an alcohol and drug policy. A local consulting firm helped develop this policy by working with the company’s human resource advisory group. The process included meetings with workers to explain the rationale for the new policy and provide an opportunity for employee input.
During these meetings, it became clear that designing an alcohol and drug policy would not magically solve all the negative effects associated with these behaviors. Employees needed a mechanism to deal with personal problems so that they could find help, take a leave of absence to deal with their problems, and then return to the company and improve their productivity.
The consultant recommended that Chamberlain use a qualified provider to implement and manage an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This firm leads quarterly training sessions for all employees and counseling on family, financial, and other problems, in addition to those related to alcohol and drugs. Each year, a significant percentage of the Chamberlain’s work force seeks help from the EAP counselor, which shows the confidence of employees in this program.
The company supplements its EAP with a drug testing program managed by a separate organization that does drug testing before employment, after accidents, when there’s probable cause, and on a random monthly basis.
Since implementing the EAP and the drug testing program, the company has enjoyed a significant decrease in job-related injuries and accidents, absenteeism, and tardiness — while reducing its Workers Comp premiums by some $50,000 a year. Chamberlain is also benefiting from an improved quality of workmanship, greater customer satisfaction, and higher employee morale. What’s not to like?