Employment Drug Testing - info-hero

Employment Drug Testing

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Employers of all types and sizes require employment drug testing to improve the safety of their workplaces, to reduce the ill effects that drug users can have on their colleagues and customers, and to prevent liability resulting from injuries caused by impaired employees. Some employers are required by state or federal regulations to drug screen their staff. Other companies perform drug testing to take advantage of incentives like reductions in worker's compensation insurance rates. But in reality, any employer that wishes to ensure a safe, productive work environment - one that lowers risk of the negatives brought on by employee drug use - should conduct employment drug testing.

Health Street can help you set up post hire drug tests for your company. Results are digitally delivered in our online StaffGlass™ portal, where you can securely view and manage your staff reports. Register online or call (888) 378-2499.

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Pre-Employment Drug Test

The most common form of employment drug testing, most companies require new hires to pass a drug screening before starting work. Simply requiring pre-employment testing sends a strong message about the type of behavior that a company will and will not tolerate in its employees. It also discourages drug users from even applying for employment.

Urine vs. Hair Testing

While DOT regulated companies must only administer the DOT approved urine drug test, non-DOT companies have a broad array of options from which to choose. In practice, most companies still use a standard 5, 10, or 12 panel urine test. Nowadays, though, many employers are moving towards use of hair testing to ensure a longer window of detection.

open_in_new Urine Drug Tests
open_in_new Hair Drug Tests

DOT Drug Testing

The United States Department of Transportation requires employers in DOT regulated industries to set up and maintain a drug and alcohol testing program that complies with their rigorous and extensive requirements. DOT audits companies in the industries that it oversees to ensure compliance with these regulations. Companies governed by DOT that do not follow these requirements risk fines, suspensions, and even severe legal actions.

Reasonable Suspicion Testing

When an employee appears to be impaired on the job, or if there is a slip and fall or other accident on the job, employers should test for drugs and alcohol. This reduces employer liability by determining if the accident may have been caused by a lack of sobriety. Health Street can visit workplaces on short notice to perform emergency testing, including administering breathalyzers. Technicians can be dispatched to job sites, the emergency room, or the scene of an accident.

Clinic vs. Mobile Drug Screening

While most drug tests are done at clinics, there are many reasons companies can benefit from having a technician come to their place of employment. When testing groups of employees at the same time, or for emergencies such as reasonable suspicion or post accident (especially after hours when clinics are closed), many employers require an on-site visit.

ROI of Employee Drug Tests

Drug testing has been proven to yield many well known, and some not so well known, benefits, including:

Improved customer relations
Reduced labor expenses
Reduced liability
Reduced insurance costs
Reduced workplace violence
Reduced absenteeism
Reduced workers' compensation claims.
Reduced theft in the workplace.
Increasing productivity
Increasing safety

While more than two-thirds of US employers require a pre-employment screening for drugs, far fewer take full advantages of a comprehensive drug free workplace program. A drug-free workplace is not just good sense; it's good for a company's bottom line, too.

It is common knowledge among HR professionals that $3 are saved for every $1 spent on drug testing. Because 75% of drug users are in the workforce, and each drug user can cost a company an estimated $12,000 in health care expenses, productivity reductions, absenteeism, workers' compensation claims, unemployment benefits, etc., it just makes dollars and sense to have a comprehensive testing program. There are additional benefits to workplace drug testing as well.

Drug Testing P&P's

Companies may want to have established policies and procedures for post hire employee drug testing. Best practices include having applicants sign company policies and procedures, and indicating that submitting to initial, random, and for-cause drug testing is a requirement for employment. Courts have consistently upheld the legality of requiring drug tests for employment.

Firms that plan to conduct post-hiring drug tests for current employees might wish to include written guidelines for discipline in the event of a positive test and education and training for both employees and supervisors. Random , post-accident, and reasonable suspicion testing is legally required in some industries, such as companies covered by the Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations.

If a current employee tests positive for drug use, employers must follow the procedures and policies that they have put into place. Test results should always be maintained on a confidential basis. Some companies utilize an Employee Assistance Program, or EAP, for professional assessment and treatment recommendations. Some companies will fire an employee on the spot if a drug test turns up positive. DOT employers must always refer an employee who tests positive to a Substance Abuse Professional, or SAP. However, DOT is silent with regard to who must pay for treatment after a failed drug or alcohol test.