There are local, state, and federal laws in place that allow employers to establish policies pertaining to drug testing their staff. Government agencies essentially try to work with employers as they strive to create a drug-free environment. A company may ask an employee to take a drug test prior to employment, sporadically during their employment, and in cases where they suspect substance abuse is occurring. Depending on the results of the test, an employee’s career can be greatly impacted. Let’s talk a bit more about the reasons for drug testing in the workplace.
Why do Employers Request Drug Tests?
Whether or not a person is high can impact their ability to perform in the workplace. Employers try to prevent this by asking for a routine drug test. Below is a rundown of why testing is beneficial for employers:
Maintain Productivity – When an employee is under the influence, they are not as focused. This can lead to decreased productivity in the workplace. Tests with quick results, such as a hair follicle drug test, can often deter employees from abusing substances.
Protect Staff and Customers – An employee who is high or drunk is clearly in no condition to complete any work. They can become dizzy, belligerent, and out of sorts putting themselves, other employees, and your clients in danger. Keeping the health and safety of others in mind, employers take tests to ensure everyone is safe from harm.
Reduce Health Care Costs – Drug and alcohol abusers are more likely to get hurt on the job. They’re also more likely to take a trip to the doctor. Many insurance providers will increase the cost of coverage if the employee engages in reckless behavior, such as smoking, as they will ultimately need more health care than most healthy employees would.
What Types of Tests are Used?
The type of drug test used will depend upon your employer’s preferences and budget. There are four primary types of drug tests that can be performed: blood, urine, hair, and saliva.
Urine Tests – Likely one of the most commonly used drug tests for employers is the urine test. They are temperature tested to ensure the samples are accurate. Urine tests can detect the use of drugs in the system from the last week or so. The results can be impacted if an employee were to stop using for a prolonged period of time before taking the tests.
Saliva Tests – Becoming increasingly common is the saliva test. They can detect the use of drugs in the system from a few days ago. Saliva tests are best known for detecting opiates and methamphetamine, but may not be the best solutions for THC, which is a substance found in marijuana.
Hair Tests – If an employer was looking to see if an employee has a drug addiction or habit, a hair drug test would be best. Though these forms of tests are more expensive, they can detect the use of drugs in the system over a longer period of time, such as a month or more.
Blood Tests – While commonly used in the past, blood testing is one of the least used forms of employer drug testing types today. Though they are less likely used and more expensive than other forms of testing, they are the most accurate as it tests the bloodstream for an array of substances.
How Accurate Are These Tests?
Accuracy of a drug test will greatly depend upon the person and the type of tests used. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association has guidelines that help outline what a positive drug test is. The test has to meet the predetermined guidelines in order to be recorded as positive. All drug testing must be handled properly, logged, and tested more than one time to ensure accuracy.
Both legal and illegal drug abuse can cause serious problems in a person’ life. Drug testing employees can help businesses improve productivity, safety, and above all else, have a drug-free environment. If you’re thinking about implementing drug testing in your place of business, be sure to choose a test that provides the most accurate reading but is also affordable.