Drug Testing in the Workplace: Everything You Should Know

Drug Testing in the Workplace

Drug Testing in the Workplace

Across various industries, workplace drug testing has proven to an effective method of increasing a company’s productivity, safety, and stability. According to The Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice, the study reveals that workplace drug testing led to over half of employee performance and attendance improvement and a significant reduction in worker compensation and turnover.

Today, drug testing is a standard practice in most workplaces. To maintain a safe and productive working environment, employers have taken reasonable measures and have provided immediate treatment to employees under the influence of illegal drugs. Read on to find out everything you should know about workplace drug testing. 

Why Do Employers Perform Workplace Drug Tests?

Safety is always one of the employers’ top priorities. With that, employers always strive to provide a secure work environment for their employees. Furthermore, it is their priority to maintain a drug-free workplace as the adverse effects of drug or alcohol abuse pose significant safety and health risks. Therefore, employers implement drug tests at work for the following common reasons:

  • Early detection of employees with alcohol or substance abuse issues to subjected to treatment.
  • Prevent a lawsuit from filed because of a worker’s behavior.
  • Avoid hiring people who are suffering from illicit substance abuse.
  • Reduce alcohol and drug abuse among employees.
  • Inhibit toxic effects that impair employee productivity.
  • Health insurance claims can result in additional costs, especially for short-term disability.
  • Ensure employee safety and trust among consumers.
  • Avoid errors that lead to workplace accidents due to drug influence.
  • Ensure workers are subject to drug tests following state or federal regulations when safety and security concerns are legitimate.

What Are the Different Methods of Drug Testing?

What Are the Different Methods of Drug Testing?

To maximize drug testing efficiency, employers, medical professionals, prosecutors, or law enforcement agencies must select the one best suited to the workplace condition. Below are the different methods of drug testing according to drug test specimen types:

  • Urine Drug Test

This type of drug test generally the least expensive and the most frequently used specimen to detect illicit drugs. In most cases, urine testing can done at home or in a laboratory with an average detection period of 2 to 3 days, depending on the drug of concern.  A urine sample will indicate any traces of substances in the body as long as it doesn’t metabolize.  Any prescription drugs or illicit drug use will certainly screened for with these tests.

  • Blood Test

Blood tests are usually the most accurate means of drug screening, but they are also generally the most invasive. In addition, it is the most expensive type of test since only specialists can perform it in a certified laboratory. For this test, the average windows of detection range from 2 to 12 hours.

  • Saliva Drug Test

Although saliva testing is considered less invasive than blood and urine tests, it can only detect drugs recently consumed within 24 hours. This method uses an oral swab for oral fluid collection with a turnaround time of approximately 1 to 2 days.

  • Hair Follicle Drug Test

Tests of this type are only for long-term drug use. This is because only drugs consumed in the past 90 days can detected—not the most recent ones. Moreover, the use of this drug test is the least common because it takes longer to complete than other drug testing methods.

  • Sweat (Patch) Drug Test

Sweating contains a small amount of drug residue. By using patches, it collects sweat for analysis within 10-14 days by specialists. This method of detecting drugs is primarily to monitor people who are in recovery or on probation.

  • Breath Testing

Drivers or individuals under the influence of alcohol are often checked on the spot by law enforcement agencies using breath testing.

Steps Involved for a Drug-Free Workplace

SAMHSA offers the following guidelines to help employers develop and sustain successful workplace drug testing programs:

  1. Prepare guidelines for identifying and preventing substance misuse at work.
  2. Create a team to help you develop your drug-free program.
  3. Examine the workplace to determine what kind of program is appropriate.
  4. Develop a drug-free workplace policy.
  5. Plan and implement a drug-free workplace program.
  6. Assess how well your program meets its objectives.
  7. Educate, train, and support your employees through Employee Assistance Programs.

When Are Drug Tests Conducted in the Workplace?

Due to inherent safety concerns in the work place, most companies often employ drug tests. In addition, companies in specific industries such as transportation, safety, defense, transit, and aviation are obliged to test candidate and employees for drug and alcohol use. 

While other industries are not required to test for drugs, many employers still do so. The following are typical times when companies conduct drug tests:

  • Pre-Employment Workplace Drug Tests

Pre Employment drug testing will help employers avoid hiring job candidate who use illegal drugs. Pre Employment tests can be done using blood, saliva, or hair, but urine usually the most common.

  • Random Drug Tests

Random testing is conducted unexpectedly through a random selection process. Often, the test is done through urine, saliva, and breath screening. 

  • Annual Drug Tests

Every year, employers administer drug tests to all workers under the company’s policies. This test often involves the administration of blood or urine test specimens.

  • Reasonable Suspicion Drug Tests

Drug testing occurs when the supervisor observes signs and symptoms of drug use or if the drug-free workplace policy has violated. A urine test is usually the most common type of test for this.

  • Post-Accident Drug Tests

The testing occurs after an accident happens to determine if drug use contributed to the incident. In this case, a quick breath test is possible.

  • Return-to-Duty Drug Tests

Employees Who Complete Drug Rehab Programs Are Subjected to a Drug Test upon Return to Work.

Many employees use illicit drugs outside the workplace and even intentionally take them to work in today’s modern workforce. Due to this reason, employers are already administering workplace drug testing to take control and maintain a safe and drug-free working environment. And by conducting the appropriate drug testing method, employees are well protected from any danger that the use of illicit drugs may pose. Thus, resulting in better productivity and high employee morale in the workplace.

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Types of Drug Test Available From 12 Panel Now

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