Drug abuse is prevalent in the workforce, with an estimated 8-12% of employees being drug abusers. With so many people testing positive for drugs, we must have workplace drug testing to ensure safety and productivity.
Many companies oppose workplace drug testing because they worry about false positives or a hostile work environment. But if you take careful precautions with your drug-testing policies and procedures, you can successfully maintain a productive workplace while ensuring employee safety.
Introduction to Drug Testing
There are two types of testing in the workplace: physical and behavioral.
A physical drug test is administered to individuals who work in a job that may require such a test, such as an employee driver, cashier, barista, or cook.
Behavioral drug testing is a condition of employment that employees must meet before they’re eligible. This testing is commonly performed on high-risk positions like “safety-sensitive” jobs or employees who work with children or vulnerable populations.
What Causes Drug Testing to be Necessary?
Drug testing has become necessary because so many employees abuse drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. The most common reasons why employers require their employees to undergo drug testing include the following:
1. Protecting the Company. Drug testing can help employers maintain employee safety, productivity, and profitability. Employers must protect their operations and products from harmful substances or contaminants that could put the company at risk. In 2011 alone, drug-related deaths caused an estimated $30 billion worth of property damage and healthcare costs in the workplace.
2. Maintain a Productive Workplace. A workplace soured by substance abuse isn’t as productive as it could be. Drug-free employees can help boost work productivity because they’re more alert, focused, energetic, and cognitive than their intoxicated counterparts.
3. Protect the Public and the Company’s Reputation. A company that does business with the public must keep its clientele safe. This can be accomplished by testing employees to stop drug use in the workplace and ensuring that all employees are healthy enough to carry out their tasks safely.
4. Maintain a Drug-Free Workplace. Employees who use illegal drugs or alcohol in the workplace can get other employees hooked on drugs, mainly when they use them at work. It also increases the likelihood of a workplace accident.
5. Employee Fraud and Violations of Laws and Regulations. Suppose a company suspects that one of its employees may be committing fraud, lying about their qualifications for employment, or violating laws governing drug testing. In that case, employers may require that employees undergo drug testing as part of their employment benefits.
6. To Save Money. Drug testing isn’t a cost-effective way to screen employees, but it can save companies money by preventing substance abuse that could lead to medical and legal expenses.
Employer drug-testing programs have been shown to increase workplace productivity and decrease employee absenteeism and injuries on the job. You can avoid problems with your drug-testing program by taking these precautions:
·Keep Testing Accurate – Make sure you purchase certified test kits, order them from a reliable supplier, and store them in a cool, dry place, so they don’t expire.
·Keep Testing Private – Don’t discuss or make public any test results. This can damage an individual’s reputation and lead to discrimination against employees with a legal right to use prescription drugs. Also, consider limiting the number of people who know about upcoming test results because it could cause rumors to spread throughout the workplace and create tension.