Workplace Drug Testing

Workplace drug testing for employees

Workplace drug testing for Employees.

Everyone knows of the dangers in safety sensitive areas in the workplace, in most cases accidents can be prevented, but no one can foresee an accident that is related to drug abuse.  Theft, lower productivity, absenteeism can also be reduced.  As a result, companies are finding it ever more important to drug test their employees.  As a result, employing a “no to drugs” policy will reduce insurance and workers comp premiums.  Managers are finding adopting a drug free workplace policy reduces burden to the bottom line and increases profitability.

Do you have a drug-free workplace program in place?

Drug testing is only one component of a comprehensive drug-free workplace program.

What you need is a written policy that clearly outlines the employer expectations regarding drug use. Train your supervisors on the signs and symptoms of drug use and their role in enforcing the policy. Educate your employees about the dangers of drug abuse. Finally provide counseling and referral services to employees struggling with drug problems with a Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

Policy and procedures for a drug-free workplace.

A comprehensive drug-free workplace program contributes to a workplace free of the health, safety and productivity hazards caused by employees’ abuse of alcohol or drugs.  By educating employees about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse and encouraging individuals with related problems to seek help, employers can protect their businesses from such dangers, retain valuable employees and help play a part in making communities safer and healthier.

The Department of Labor’s online Drug-Free Workplace Program has some very useful tools to help employers develop a customized drug-free workplace policy.  You can review different components of a comprehensive policy and then generate a written policy statement based on your responses to pre-set questions and statements.  Most managers seek legal consultation before commencing a drug testing program.

Workplace drug testing.

Our goal is to help you limit your exposure to liability by providing some help for a drug free workplace.  Starting up your “in-house” testing as apposed using “third part collector” (labs) can be so much more affordable and so easy to get going.  There is plenty of help from government websites with sample policies and advice.  A drug free workplace can help you the employer create a cost-effective, safe, and healthy environment for every employee whilst saving costs and putting profit back on the bottom line.

“The first step to developing a simple employee policy will be to outline your stance against drug abuse.”

Drug-Free employee policy.

Drug free workplace programs range from basic to comprehensive.  The size of the organization, the nature of the workforce, and the resources available will effect your decisions.  Supervisors who assess their workplace can determine which components are practical and beneficial, they tailor the policy to suit their business needs.  Manager who write clearly written policies help employees understand its content.  Provide training for all employees, tell them what it’s all about.  Furthermore, explain the procedures for reporting suspicion, accidents and theft. Finally, tell them why you are implementing a drug testing program.  Employees that object to working in a drug free workplace to their supervisor should raise a red flag.

Download and Print   Drug-Free workplace policy.

Workplace Drug TestingWorkplace drug test kits.

Companies avoid the dangers of drug abuse in the workplace with “Drug Testing Kits“.  Supervisors find it easy to manage and administer drug testing when they follow the information on this page.  Supervisors also use the information on our solutions pages to help manage their workplace drug testing program.

The most common types of tests employers use are five (5) and ten (10) panel tests.  These detect either five or ten drugs, the difference in price is not very much.  Managers can refer to Department of Transport web site to help decide what drugs to test for. Federally Mandated Organisations test for the following drugs: Cocaine, Opiates, Amphetamines, Methamphetamine, Ecstasy, Phencyclidine and Marijuana. Customers often use this as a starting point, but you may want to add additional tests such Benzodiazepines and Oxycodone to your own tests. Whatever you decide, we have what you need.

Workplace Drug Testing.

Workplace Drug Testing kits are the perfect solution for employers. Drug testing packages include the tools you need to operate and maintain on-site drug testing.  It will determine if your employees or job applicants are using drugs and can identify evidence of recent use of prescription and illicit drugs too.  Each pack includes full instructions so you can test with confidence and have an affordable, fully managed, drug testing regime at your place of  business. We have other tools to help you manage your testing with confidence.

In conclusion, drug and alcohol abuse is a serious problem in the workplace.  I know what you are saying “Nobody is abusing drugs in my business“.  There are plenty of statistics that say the contrary!

Processing a drug test.

  • Drug testing requires an administrator to document the process with a chain-of-custody form or testing record document.  It documents the handling and storage of the employees sample from the time it was collected to the time it was disposed.  This is written proof  that an individuals sample is linked to all that happens to the specimen while it is being collected.
  • The first analysis is called a drug screen using a drug test kit; in the event that the first analysis is a presumed positive, a second confirmatory test should be done.
  • The supervisor will send the presumed positive sample to a SAMHSA approved laboratory.  The laboratory will test the sample with a technique called Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry.  This is highly accurate and provides specificity to help rule out any false positives from the initial drug screen.

Medical Review Officer.

In the event that a drug test is confirmed positive, a licensed Medical Review Officer (MRO); a doctor who has special training in the area of substance abuse, should then review the results.   They will contact the individual directly to ascertain reasons for the positive result.  Because, if this is the case, and a doctor prescribed the medicine, then the test will be reported as negative.  The Medical Review Officer will then report this to the employer. Consequently, it is important to use the services of an Medical Review Officer to act as an intermediary.  Furthermore, the process smooths out irregularities and removes potential legal implications between employee and company. .

Common reasons employers implement drug testing:

  • Deter employees from abusing alcohol and drugs.
  • Prevent hiring individuals who use illegal drugs.
  • Be able to identify early and appropriately refer employees who have drug and/or alcohol problems.
  • Provide a safe workplace for employees.
  • Protect the general public and instill consumer confidence that employees are working safely.
  • Comply with State laws or Federal regulations.
  • Benefit from Workers’ Compensation Premium Discount programs.


  • To prevent employing an individual who abuses drugs the HR department will generally ask an applicant to take a drug test prior to full employment.  Applicants agree to be tested as a condition of employment and are not hired if they fail to produce a negative test.

Reasonable Suspicion:

  • Supervisors often justify drug testing when an employee shows signs of unusual behavior. A manager may ask them as probable-cause or reasonable suspicion.  Supervisors document observable signs and symptoms that lead them to suspect drug use.  It is extremely important to have clear, consistent definitions of what behavior justifies drug testing. Another supervisor or manager should corroborated their behavior.  Since this type of testing is at the discretion of management, it requires careful, comprehensive supervisor training.  In addition, it is advised that employees who are suspected of drug use or violates policy not return to work while awaiting the results of reasonable suspicion test.

Customers often use a Reasonable Suspicion checklist to help with assessing employees.
Download and Print   Checklist.


  • Since property damage or personal injury may result from accidents, drug testing after an accident can help determine whether drugs were a factor.  Although the results of a post-accident test may determine drug use, a positive test result can not prove that drug use caused the accident.  The employee should be tested as soon as practically possible.  Most of all it is recommended that post-accident drug testing be completed within 2 hours. Finally, employees should not be allowed to return to work  until the final test result has been established.

Random drug testing:

  • Managers randomly test employees on an unannounced basis.  They setup a random testing pool taking their social security or employee number for identification.  And wait for a computer generated selection to made.  As a result each employee is randomly selected from the workforce and has an equal chance of being selected for testing.

Periodic drug testing:

  • Managers will set up periodic testing, this is usually scheduled in advance, but depending on the nature of employment could be quarterly, half yearly or yearly. Employees generally accepted this process, but, employees can prepare themselves by abstaining from drug use several days beforehand to avoid be detection.

Methodology of drug testing.

There are a two common methods to research.

  • Urine:  Results of a urine test show the presence or absence of drug metabolites in a person’s urine.  They remain in the body for some time after the effects of a drug have worn off.  It detects use of a particular drug within the previous few days.
  • Oral Fluids:  Oral fluids testing uses saliva collected from the mouth to detect parent and metabolized drugs.  An Oral drug test is easier to administer, harder to adulterate or substitute, and can be better at detecting drugs.  Conclusion, the window of detection is smaller than a urine test, typically 24 to 36 hours.

What is a positive?

Workplace Drug Testing

Manufacturers calculate their test kits to detect the presence or amount of a drug found in a sample to specified level.  If a drug or its metabolite exceeds that level then the result is positive. Its known as the cut-off level.  FDA cleared drug test kits follow these levels, so you do not need to be concerned

Valuable resources.

Government statistics.

  • Approximately 74% of adults who use illegal drugs are employed.
  • Drug abusers take 8 more sick days per year compared to a non user.
  • Drug abusers are 5 times more likely to file a Worker’s Compensation claim.
  • Drug abusers are 4 times more likely to steal from employers and co-workers.
  • Drug abusers are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in a workplace accident.
  • Drug abusers are 3 times more likely to take sick days, that equals to over 24 sick days per year.
  • Substance-abusing employees function at about 67% of their capacity.

FACT: Employers who drug test their employees have experienced over 50% reduction in workplace injury rates within two years of implementing a drug testing program.

Disclaimer: This page is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. The reader retains full responsibility to ensure compliance with all applicable laws relative to drug testing.