The Best Practices For A Workplace Drug Testing Program

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The Best Practices For A Workplace Drug Testing Program

Although workplace drug testing used to be common only in the aviation, transportation and security industries, it’s now extremely commonplace everywhere. Estimates say that around 80% of companies screen both new applicants and steady employees.

Why has there been a rise in drug testing? The reason is that drug and alcohol abuse causes lots of problems in the workplace. Your business can be directly affected by substance abuse both on the job and off. Employee drug abuse results in absenteeism, lost productivity, bad attitudes, workplace violence, theft and other problems. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, American businesses lose $75 to $100 billion per year in lost time due to drug abuse problems.

Workplace drug testing isn’t only done out of the company’s best interests. It also helps employees. Many companies have drug testing programs in order to treat those with substance abuse problems. They offer rehabilitation programs and counseling benefits to their employees. Random drug testing can also help your employees to ‘just say no’ when offered illegal substances because they know that it can impact their job.

How To Perform Workplace Drug Screening

Most companies use a service provider to perform what’s called Five Panel DOT Testing (DOT is the US Department of Transportation). This is the standard in most industries. It analyzes urine samples for traces of amphetamine, marijuana, cocaine, opiates and PCP. The samples are sent to an off-site laboratory for analysis. Unfortunately, there is a waiting period before the results are in.

Companies are encouraged to hire a Medical Review Officer (MRO) appointed by the DOT. This is a physician who is an expert on drug addiction and substance abuse problems. They may analyze drug tests or help in other ways to keep the workplace drug-free.

There are other drug screening methods but it’s important to remember that with every one, you must obtain the individual’s consent before the screening is carried out. For example, if you pick up a strand of hair and have it analyzed, this is illegal. It’s a violation of your employee’s privacy.

Tips On Best Practices

In order to make your drug screening effective, it must be consistent. You need a standard procedure in place that everyone must comply with. Some companies test selectively, but most believe it is better to subject everyone to the same rules. Random drug tests can also be helpful.

You can also monitor your employees using CCTV or email monitoring in order to watch for warning signs. However, everything must be done openly and honestly. You have to tell employees in the company handbook and other literature. If not, you’re in violation of the Data Protection Act.

When designing your drug testing policy, decide beforehand what constitutes a violation and how you’re going to deal with it. All disciplinary measures must be standard and applied equally. You should also decide if you’ll offer counseling or rehabilitation.

Employee drug abuse is a major problem in all industries. Workplace drug testing helps you to keep your company drug-free and eliminate the problems that come with it. Apply these best practices for a workplace drug testing program and it will make your screening a success.