Workplace drug testing is vital in maintaining a safe and productive workplace. However, employers should be aware of several issues with such programs before implementing them. One of the most obvious reasons to have a drug and alcohol testing program is that it reduces employee absenteeism. It is particularly important for safety-sensitive positions such as trucking jobs.
Preventing Workplace Injuries
Employers who uphold a drug-free workplace policy can decrease the frequency of incidents when workers may be hurt while impaired. Whether it is a bus driver operating the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a construction worker who shows up for work with illicit drugs in their system, these individuals put the safety of everyone on the job site in danger. In addition to having a well-drafted drug testing policy, employers can protect themselves from legal challenges by ensuring proper reasons for conducting probable cause tests, including clear, documented warning signs. In addition, supervisors need to receive training on the types of behaviors indicative of intoxication and the criteria for sending an employee for testing.
The most common type of drug test is a urinalysis, which involves an individual giving a sample sent to a lab for analysis. Many companies choose to have their own labs, but other employers use the services of an outside company that conducts the details about drug testing. Employees are generally tested before they begin a new position and when there’s reasonable suspicion that they might be using drugs or under the influence. Random drug tests can help deter illegal drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace. A study comparing a group of employees who tested positive to a control group found that the positive workers used more medical benefits and had a higher absenteeism rate. In contrast, those who tested negative had lower absenteeism rates and fewer accidents and injuries.
Preventing Workplace Disruption
Drugs and alcohol can significantly impair employees’ ability to perform their jobs. Employers are strongly interested in protecting workers and maintaining a productive work environment by implementing drug and alcohol testing programs. It will allow employers to identify impaired workers and take action if an incident occurs. It will reduce workplace accidents, lower health insurance costs, and minimize absenteeism and turnover. Aside from the obvious safety hazards, impairment caused by drugs and alcohol can result in poor performance on the job, workplace mistakes, reduced output, and low morale. It can also lead to theft or loss of company property, diversion of supervisory and managerial time, disciplinary and grievance issues, poor employee relationships, family and financial difficulties, and even domestic abuse.
Employers can conduct drug and alcohol tests at any stage of employment – pre-employment, for reasonable cause, post-incident, before return to work, and as part of a random program (RAPID Site Access). It is important to note that random testing should be done with caution to avoid violating an employee’s privacy rights. It is also important to understand that an employee may refuse a drug test. However, refusing a test should not be construed as indicating that the worker has a substance use disorder. Refusal should be considered on a case-by-case basis, and the situation’s circumstances should be examined before an employee’s service record is penalized.
Preventing Workplace Crime
Preventive drug and alcohol testing policies guided by the ILO Code of Practice, 1996, can help employers avoid workplace crimes caused by intoxicated workers. A drug-free workforce can improve morale, reduce employee turnover and health insurance costs, lower accident rates and limit costly legal action. Employers can make drug testing a requirement for the hiring process or test current employees at certain intervals. They may test for alcohol and drugs before an accident, after an incident involving an unsafe work practice or when there is reasonable cause to suspect that an employee has been using drugs. Random tests with unpredictable selection criteria are the best methods for preventing workplace drug use. Many employers have drug and alcohol testing programs that offer rehabilitative services to employees struggling with substance abuse. They can help workers with addictions, improving their job performance and the entire company’s productivity. If an employee is caught using illegal drugs at work, they can be terminated. It can harm the company as it will have to spend money on recruiting, training and paying their replacements.
Preventing Workplace Abuse
Drug abusers are more likely to have accidents on the job, costing the employer money in workers’ compensation claims and other costs. In addition, the use of drugs impairs judgment, which can affect performance and productivity. The best way to prevent the hiring of drug abusers is to test them before employment. However, it is also important for employers to test current employees involved in accidents and on whom there is reasonable suspicion of drug or alcohol abuse or whose absences from work suggest possible substance use. Probable cause testing usually occurs when a supervisor observes behavior indicating the worker is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. For example, a supervisor might notice that an employee seems sleepy or distant while on the job, which is a sign of drug use. The supervisor should document this behavior and then ask the worker to take a probable cause drug test.
Supervisors should be trained to spot the warning indications of substance abuse and addiction, including describing what constitutes enabling. They should be informed about company and local resources for confidential evaluation, counseling or treatment. In the event of a positive test, the employer should offer a chance to explain the results before taking action. Employees diagnosed with a serious substance use disorder should be given a choice of options, including transitioning to a different position or leaving the company entirely.