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Workplace drug testing policy for employees

workplace drug testing policy

Workplace drug testing policy?

Drug testing is a way an employer can determine if their employees or job applicants are abusing drugs.  It can identify evidence of recent substance abuse, particularly prescription and illegal drugs.  Substance testing cannot test for impairment or whether a person’s behavior has been impacted by drugs.  The way drug testing works best is to implement a clear written workplace drug testing policy and share it with all your employees. Part of your implementation should include employee education about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can be included to provide help for employees who may have an alcohol or drug problem.

workplace drug testing policySetting up a workplace drug testing policy.

An effective substance-abuse prevention policy for your small businesses might start with five simple sentences. You can add additional content as required to suit the needs and circumstances of your company.

 

  1. [Your Company] is committed to protecting the safety, health, and well-being of its employees and all people who come into contact with its workplace(s) and property, and/or use its products and services.
  2. Recognizing that drug and alcohol abuse pose a direct and significant threat to this goal, [Your Company] is committed to ensuring a substance-free working environment for all of its employees.
  3. [Your Company] therefore strictly prohibits the illicit use, possession, sale, conveyance, distribution, or manufacture of illegal drugs, intoxicants, or controlled substances in any amount or in any manner.
  4. In addition, [Your Company] strictly prohibits the abuse of alcohol or prescription drugs.
  5. Any violation of this policy will result in adverse employment action up to and including dismissal and referral for criminal prosecution.

[highlight]Download a Drug Free Workplace Policy Template here.[/highlight] (Word Document).

Before you start putting together your Workplace drug testing policy for employees, you should consider these questions:

  • What is the purpose/goal of your policy?
  • Who is covered by your policy?
  • When does your policy apply?
  • What behavior is prohibited?
  • Will employees be required to notify you of drug-related convictions?
  • Does your policy include searches?
  • Does your program include drug testing?
  • What will the consequences be if your policy is violated?
  • Are there Return-to-Work Agreements?
  • What type of assistance is available?
  • How is employee confidentiality protected?
  • Who is responsible for enforcing your policy?
  • How will your policy be communicated to employees?

What is workplace drug testing?

Employers who decide to test a job applicant and/or employees must decide which drugs they will test for. Don’t just pick a standard five test because everyone else does.

The test used by U.S. Department of Transportation consists of a test for six substances.  These six substances include THC (marijuana), Cocaine, Opiates, Amphetamines, Phencyclidine and Ecstasy. Here are some options. Use that as your starting point, then think about what other drugs you may wish to include in the test.

Many employers today go beyond testing for these six drugs, expanding the panel of drugs to ten or twelve. The panel can be expanded to include as many drugs as you see fit. It may wish to include Benzodiazepines, Methadone, Oxycodone, Barbiturates, and Methamphetamine.

Is workplace drug testing effective?

Common reasons employers implement workplace testing policy:

  • Deter employees from abusing illicit substances, prescription medications and alcohol.
  • Prevent hiring individuals who are abusers.
  • To identify early and appropriately help employees who have substance or alcohol problem.
  • Provide a safe and comfortable workplace for employees.
  • Instills consumer confidence that employees are working safely and protects the general public.
  • Comply with State laws and/or Federal regulations.
  • Benefit from increased discounts for Worker’s Compensation Premiums.

What are the pros and cons of Workplace drug testing?

Alcohol and drug abuse can create significant health and safety hazards. It can result in decreased productivity and poor employee morale.  It leads to additional costs in the workers compensation claims, and short-term disability claims.

Pros to the company:

  • Increased employee morale.
  • Decreased workplace accidents.
  • Reduced employee theft.
  • Increased productivity.
  • Reduced employee turnover.
  • Decreased cost of insurance, such as workers’ compensation.

Cons to the company:

  • Abusers have poor work performance.
  • Frequently call out of or arrive late to the workplace.
  • Frequently change workplaces.
  • Struggle with productivity.
  • File for workers’ compensation claims and benefits.

Workplace drug testing kits.

We stock many options for drug testing in the workplace and provide valuable information on how to use drug tests and what drug they detect.

Workplace drug testing kits.

Useful Government links:

Drug testing laws by state.

Drug Free Workplace programs from SAMHSA.

Useful information for setting up a workplace drug testing policy.

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Opioid Abuse hits the Workplace for the worst!

Opioid Abuse hits the Workplace

Opioid abuse hits the workplace as employees are using and abusing prescription drugs more often.  A new survey reveals 70 percent of businesses are saying it’s affecting their workers.

The survey from the National Safety Council also found that while 71 percent of employers believe that abuse of opioid abuse is a disease that requires treatment, 65 percent also consider it a justifiable reason to fire a worker.

The medicine cabinet is the source from where most of these drugs are coming from.  Prescribed prescription drugs and opioids can impair workers and create hazards in safety sensitive areas in the workplace. Even when taken as prescribed, impairment is a consideration and employees should not be allowed to drive or operate machinery.

These findings should make employers stand up and realize that as opioid abuse hits the workplace it hits their business in so many ways.

The report showed that employers do not understand the implications of opioid abuse and have a long way to go. Only 19 percent of employers said they felt “prepared” to deal with prescription drug abuse in their workplace. 76 percent of employers do not offer training on the topic at all.

Of all the companies consulted, only 57 percent of employers said all employees underwent drug testing but nearly half of them didn’t test for synthetic opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl.

Opioid abuse hits the workplace in many ways and has many knock on effects. Absenteeism, lower productivity, theft and accidents that effect other employees. Did you know that the USA is currently in the throes of an unprecedented opioid epidemic. Six out of 10 overdose deaths involve opioid drugs and 91 die every day from opioid or heroin abuse, and this is just in America.

Opioid abuse hits the workplace

What effective steps can you take as an employer to protect your employees? The report found that 81 percent of employer’s policies lack at least one major element of an effective drug-free workplace program. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration has some useful information and a toolkit to help with your drug free workplace policy.

As opioid abuse hits the workplace, the next thing to consider is drug testing your employees on a random basis and when there is reasonable suspicion. Prior to employment, you should always test that candidate for drugs. Here is a list of drug test kits that detect synthetic opioids and are suitable for use in the workplace.

Employers, its time to take action and protect your business and your employees from drugs.

On a positive note, 70 percent of employers did say they would help workers struggling with prescription drug abuse return to their jobs after completing treatment.

Here is a list of drug tests that detect opioids suitable for workplace testing.

References: National Safety Council

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Workplace drug abuse

Workplace drug abuse

Workplace drug abuse may not be obvious in your workplace, but statistically at least one of your employees will be abusing. The question is, what are you doing about it? Are you currently doing any kind of testing? If you are, are you following a strict policy of no to drugs.

The figures for substance abuse in the United States of America are astounding.

Statistics from the American Council for Drug Education.

  • 60% of the world’s illegal drugs are consumed by Americans.
  • 2,000,000 Americans use heroin.
  • 6,000,000 use cocaine.
  • 18,000,000 suffer from alcohol abuse.
  • 23,000,000 people use marijuana at least four times in a week.

Of all substance users, 74.8 percent are employed and active in the workplace. This means that 12.9 million individuals actively use drugs in the workforce, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).

Using drugs impairs decision-making abilities as well as physically impairs people. This is a deadly concoction when on the job. In fact, between 10 and 20 percent of American workers who die at work have test positive for drugs or alcohol. A study by OSHA states that the most dangerous occupations, such as mining and construction also have the highest rates of abuse use by their employees.

Useful link to workplace drug abuse. A quiz to help you make the right decisions and approach of how to minimize the dangers attributed to substance abuse.

Workplace drug abuse. 

Symptoms of drug abuse.

Effects of drug abuse.

How to help an addict.

To learn more about Workplace drug abuse, take a look here.