Drug testing can be a touchy subject; however, it is a key responsibility of employers is to make sure their employees are safe and productive on the job. That often means incorporating drug screening into their hiring and ongoing employment practices. As workplace cultures are changing, drug testing may or may not needed in your company, but in many cases hiring can depend on passing pre-employment drug and alcohol tests. These tests vary by state, but here is an overview of what you need to know about implementing drug and alcohol testing at your company.

The Value of Drug and Alcohol Testing

While drug testing can help identify problems before they result in accidents on the job, random workplace drug testing can sometimes fuel resentment among employees who feel the practice indicates a lack of trust on the part of their employer. They can be felt as a violation of their right to privacy and can add to a reputation of an overly “corporate” employer. There are also the costs to consider when deciding whether drug testing is right for your business. The testing itself can be costly in terms of the procedure as well as the lost productivity of the workers.

In some cases, workers who are against drug testing in the workplace may threaten to sue over results, costing employers even more. Beyond that, the accuracy of some drug tests can result in false positives that would do harm to worker reputation, or false negatives that fail to identify security risks. These are very real challenges that employers need to come to terms with as they evaluate the value of such a program.

Where Drug and Alcohol Testing Makes Sense

In positions where the safety of the workplace is at risk, should workers abuse drugs on the job, it makes a great deal of sense to require drug screening prior to hiring an employee and periodically throughout their tenure with the company. Workers who abuse drugs are less able to be effective on the job. They are often the cause of businesses facing exposure to higher liability to workplace accidents or health risks to co-workers as well. If the safety of an employee is ever at risk due to another employee working under the influence, it is of great importance for employers to know their teams are operating at their best.

What Should You Test For and Why?

Testing that falls within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration guidelines includes alcohol, amphetamines, cocaine, opiates, PCP and marijuana. Further testing can include methadone, propoxyphene, hallucinogens, inhalants, anabolic steroids, hydrocodone and MDMA.

Per the U.S. Department of Labor, roughly 10 to 20 percent of workers involved in fatal accidents on the job did in fact test positive for illicit drugs and alcohol use. As an employer, screening out potential liabilities through drug tests makes a lot of sense. They also feel there is an added benefit of helping those employees who would otherwise find their lives less fulfilling due to drug addiction and the accompanying financial and emotional well-being provided by successful completion of a recovery program.

For more thoughts on how to empower and protect your workforce with an effective screening program, contact the team at Verum Technical today.