Drug Testing Program
Drug Testing Program used in the US is at its highest level in more than a decade. Every year, drug and alcohol abusers cost American companies billions of dollars. A few industry studies have given a range of $11,000 to $13,000 per year. This is because of the high turnover rates, lower productivity, accidents, unexcused absences, and increased compensation claims.
About 70% of the 14.8 million Americans who abuse drugs are employed. The National Safety Council states that employees who are involved in drug abuse are 2-5 times. They are likely frequently late to work, be absent, file compensation claims. They fired or quit within a year of employment.
Moreover, the National Drug-Free Workplace Alliance (NDWA) has pointed out 40% of all industrial deaths. Casualties that occur in the US happen as a result of employees working under the influence of drugs. In fact, drug abuse also causes 40% of employee theft.
To counter these dangers, an effective drug testing program can ensure that workplaces are safe and productive. Random drug testing for employees can be an excellent way to prevent drug—users from adversely affecting your organization’s bottom line.
You can detect employees involved in drug or alcohol abuse take necessary disciplinary actions to control the habit. In this way, you’ll create a safer work environment for everyone and limit any productivity losses.
6 Things to Consider When Developing an Employee Drug-Testing Program
- The Drug Testing Policy Should Clearly Be Written
Having a written drug testing policy is the single most important step in establishing a drug-testing program in the workplace. It would be best if you sat with your legal team to develop and implement a policy that’s in accordance with the respective state laws.
Clearly defined rules and scope of the policy, and adequate training will ensure employee adherence and control of drug abuse. Employees will know expected and would keep in mind the consequences they could face if rules were violated.
A copy of the document should be provided to every employee at the time of hiring so that they can refer to it at any time. You should get it signed by them to have proof that they have read and understood it.
Ensure that the policy has been approved by the state, as some states require the approval of any written drug testing policy before it can be implemented.
2. Conduct Pre-Employment Screening
It is advisable to implement a pre-employment drug testing procedure to steer clear of any risks and avoid inconvenience in the future. Any potential candidate who tests positive should have their employment offer canceled, regardless of how suited they may for the job. Again, you need to consult your state laws to know when and how you can have pre-employment drug tests conducted.
3. Drug-Free Workplace Signs
Sings that indicate your drug-free status should be placed at various locations in your workplace such as parking lots, entrance, reception lobbies, break rooms, and any other spots where current and potential employees can see them.
4. Provide Drug Abuse Training
Give regular training to employees on drug abuse hazards and your company’s rules and policies regarding drug abuse. You should also train supervisors and line managers to help them recognize the signs and symptoms of drug abuse.
In this way, they will be able to isolate any employees under the influence of drugs. Consequently, any workplace accident and injuries will be prevented.
5. Maintain Confidentiality
As an employer, it’s your responsibility that the confidentiality of employees compromised in any way. Drug test results should be treated as private and confidential information, and those who “need to know” should have to access the final results. The results should be secured and locked when not in use by the appropriate officials.
6. There Should be Fairness across the Board
All policies and procedures you develop to maintain a drug-free workplace should be applied equally and fairly across the board. From the newest hire to the most senior member – no exceptions should be made.
Random Drug Testing of Employees
Random drug testing makes for an integral part of the employee drug-testing program. It’s one of the most effective methods of detecting drug users in your organization. Ongoing periodic drug testing helps to deter workers from getting involved in drug or alcohol abuse.
You should be randomly testing about 50% of your workforce every year to comply with drug-free workplace requirements.
How Does a Random Drug Testing Program Works?
You need the employee’s consent before conducting any drug test. In case you face any issues, such as an employee refusing to take the test, it’s up to your company’s drug testing policy, what disciplinary action should be taken.
A non-discriminatory employee selection method is the key to a successful random drug testing. Selected specimens can be collected based on the type of testing procedure. They include mouth swab drug tests, urine drug tests, etc. Assessment is done through lab testing or using specialized drug testing kits.
The reports shared with a Medical Review Officer if any employee found violating your drug abuse testing program requirements.
If conducted properly, random drug testing of employees won’t affect any employee disproportionately, and nobody will be able to predict who will be tested or when the next round of tests will occur.
How to Keep Your Organization’s Random Drug Testing Procedures Truly Impartial
- Make the Selection Method Free of Any Biases
It’s important that the participants selected for drug testing complete random, and no one feels targeted. Employees know that anyone can be called up for the test, so they are also motivated to stay clean and sober at all times.
Enter all of your employees into specialized selection software that randomly selects and generates a list of candidates for testing, as well as the date on which the test will be conducted. In this way, everyone will know that they all have the same probability of being picked by the random generator.
In case a drug test has several screenings, and a particular employee has already selected previously, he should still include in the next round with the same probability of selected again.
2. Reduce the Time Lapse between Notification and Testing of Employees
Employees have selected for the test, and the test date has finalized, you should notify them, keeping in mind that they don’t get a considerable time frame receiving the notification and testing.
Employees who into drug abuse can think of tricks to avoid caught and take measures to avoid getting a positive test. Such methods are dubious, but they do exist. Therefore, you need to keep the time between notification and actual testing as short as possible.
If any employee fails to take the test within the given time frame, you can consider it as a refusal on their part. Necessary actions should then taken against any such employees.
3. Ensure Proper Documentation of the Entire Process and Results
Documentation is critical. Properly documenting the entire process, candidate details, selection method, testing methods, and results will ensure that you have all the necessary records in place to protect yourself in case of an audit. You will also require legal evidence if an employee files a complaint against the selection method or testing process.
Starting from selection and notification to screening analysis, every step of the process should be captured, preferably through an automated digital system. By doing so, your organization will show that it’s conducting unbiased random drug testing as per the drug testing program.
4. Follow All State and Federal Laws
Employee drug-testing laws vary from state to state. You want to make sure that you draft your random drug testing policy and procedures in compliance with state and federal laws.
Meeting specific regulatory authorities’ specific standards keeps you safe from any legal actions and potentially costly fines.
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