Regular drug testing can help to protect the health of your employees. Routine drug tests can also lower the incidences of substance abuse at the workplace. If properly executed, these tests can go a long way in ramping up your employees’ overall workplace productivity. The best part is that there are several best practices to make the most of drug testing in the workplace. Those tips shall be the main focus of this post.
- Determine If Your Industry Needs Regular Drug Testing?
Routine drug testing is essential in almost all industries. However, some sectors require these tests more than others.
The following are examples of industries where regular drug tests are a must;
- Healthcare and Hospitals, including hospices (palliative care centers)
- Transport and Logistics
- Hospitality Industry
- Manufacturing Industry, especially those that deal with heavy machinery
- Automotive Industry
- Government Jobs
- Construction Jobs
- Aerospace and Defense
- Sports and Athletics
- Private Security
- High Tech and Software Industry
Also, here are a few occupations where drug tests may not be so necessary;
- Teaching Jobs
- Customer Service and Support Jobs
- Virtual Jobs, such as freelance writing, transcription, and online tutoring
- Consultancy Jobs
- Choose a Suitable Testing Frequency
Once you’ve determined that your industry requires regular employee drug tests, the next thing to do is choose a suitable testing frequency. Obviously, it’s tedious and expensive to conduct drug tests weekly or even monthly. That’s are especially true if you run a big corporation with a large workforce. The earliest you should schedule employee drug tests is quarterly. Better yet, you might conduct the tests every four months or biannually. However, there’s also the option of performing random workplace drug tests.
A Random breath test for workers is critical where there are reasonable suspicious events or accidents. For instance, if you operate a freight company and one particular driver keeps causing accidents, it’s fair to blame substance abuse on that specific driver. In this case, you may only prescribe random drug tests on the driver and their closest associates.
Select a Reliable Testing Method
There are multiple drug testing options. Common ones include urine, blood, oral fluids (saliva), sweat, and hair. A urine drug test is considered a reliable screening method for common drugs, especially narcotics like marijuana, cocaine, opiates, and amphetamines. It tends to be one of the most common and affordable methods.
However, urine tests have a relatively shorter detection window (usually 30 days). That’s in comparison to other testing methods, such as hair tests, which can detect the presence of drugs for up to 90 days after last exposure. Blood tests are also fairly reliable. But they’re more expensive and invasive.
Ideally, the following factors should guide you when honing in on the best employee drug testing method.
- Detection window
- Whether the subjects are presently on prescription medications
Have a Reasonable Testing Window
There’s a growing number of companies manufacturing fake urine and other artificial samples for use in drug screening. Interestingly, many of these companies are duly licensed in their various jurisdictions. Since your employees already know your drug testing policies (particularly regarding the screening frequency), some of them may resort to shady methods to cheat the tests. That makes it necessary to have a reasonable testing window. Ensure your employees and even job applicants understand your drug testing windows.
A good drug screening window should accord the employees and jobseekers ample time to complete the drug tests but not enough time to cheat the system. For instance, assume your company advertised for a vacant position a month ago and has been receiving proposals. One way to ensure the job applicants don’t beat the system is by giving the successful candidates between 24 and 48 hours to show up for the interviews. Two days is a short duration for habitual drug users to flush off the substances from their system.
Extend a Helping Hand to the Victims
A survey by the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NCADD) found that over 70% of Americans abusing illicit drugs are employed. So, there’s a good chance that regular employee drug screenings will turn up a couple of positive results. The question that arises here is what to do with drug abuse victims in your workplace. Should you demote them, let them go, or send them to a rehabilitation center? If you discover that your employees are abusing illicit drugs, the first thing to do is to have a word with them and discover why they’re doing it.
Unknown to you, they could be suffering from anxiety or depression and only turning to drugs for solace. You can schedule private appointments with the victims, preferably in a neutral environment where they’d be happy to open up about their problems. However, be sure to recommend a viable solution. You can grant them a temporary paid leave or find them a professional therapist, fully paid by the company.
The significance of regular drug testing at workplaces cannot be overemphasized. These tests can help you uncover employees who may be struggling with addiction and forestall any productivity downturns resulting from substance abuse. However, the findings from routine employee drug tests shouldn’t be used to victimize habitual drug users. Instead, they should form the basis for helping the addicts so that they can recover from this habit.