Drug screening in the workplace has been around for some time now, and few people will doubt that it has benefited countless employers and employees over the years.
Following are 15 of the most impactful benefits of drug testing at the workplace. Some of these may surprise you.
1. Drug screening keeps the workplace safe
No one can deny that drug use or abuse can impair a person’s motor skills and judgment, and that is a recipe for disaster in any place of work. It is always best to catch a drug problem before an employee becomes a hazard to everyone in the workplace, and drug screening does just that. Drug screening or testing promotes workplace safety, and it’s something that all employers should take to heart if they really care about the people working for them
2. A drug screening test ensures the safety of the public as well
A worker impaired by drugs can also impact the safety of the public. This is most especially true of people who work at factories or plants that manufacture products that are to be consumed by the public. An impaired worker could contaminate the products and therefore pose a public health risk. A drug screening test can take care of this problem, and more.
3. Random drug screening can keep costs down
It is estimated that in the US alone employers lose more than $80 billion annually in lost productivity, workman’s compensation and litigation that arise from drug-related incidents. With random drug screening, an employer gets the chance to avoid those costs and keep them down altogether.
4. A regular drug screen keeps employees on their toes
When a drug screen is an integral part of a company’s drug policy, employees will think twice about taking drugs during or a few hours before work, and that reduces the risk of workplace accidents.
5. Drug screen testing programs improve productivity rates
There is undeniable proof that drug screen testing programs increase productivity rates. In one study, about 19 per cent of organisations surveyed reported experiencing improved productivity upon implementation of a drug screen testing program.
6. Drug test screening prevents unsavoury incidents in the workplace
Drug-related incidents in the workplace is not limited to accidents. Sometimes, drug use leads to aggressive behaviour and even violence. Such situations can be prevented by drug test screening.
7. Drug screening results provide employers opportunity to help employees
Many employers immediately sack employees whose drug screening results return positive, especially when they have been involved in a workplace incident, but there are some employers who take such results as an opportunity to help an employee with drug problems.
In most cases, the employees given second chances are ones who have tested positive for drugs but have not been involved in a workplace accident. More often than not, employers help through an EAP or Employee Assistance Program.
Through the EAP, employers and managers can refer counselling and rehabilitation programs. Employees under such programs are typically monitored strictly to ensure the employee achieves full recovery and will be drug-free by the time he or she returns to work.
8. A drug screen test helps employers follow statutes
There are places the world over where employers are required by law to have their employees undergo a drug screen test. If your company falls under the jurisdiction of these places, a drug screen test gives you the compliance you need.
9. Workplace drug testing impacts absenteeism
Absenteeism is one of the more common effects of drug or alcohol abuse in the workplace. In fact, absenteeism due to drugs or alcohol is costing Australian employers $3 billion a year.
Workplace drug testing, however, has an impact on absenteeism according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The poll reveals that nine percent of employers surveyed reported high absenteeism rates before the implementation of a workplace drug testing program. After the implementation of such a program, only four per cent reported high absenteeism rates.
10. Pre employment drug testing helps eliminate potential problems from the start
Employers that implement pre employment drug testing programs are in a position to avoid hiring applicants with drug habits that could cause problems in the future. It can also serve as a deterrent for drug users to avoid applying for that position, and therefore save everyone, including themselves, the time and effort.
11. Drug testing in the workplace reduces theft and fraud
Supporting a drug habit is costly. In many cases, a person will do anything to get money for that next fix, including theft and fraud. Drug testing in the workplace can reduce incidents like that by finding out who are using illicit drugs on a regular basis and remove them from the workplace.
12. Random drug testing screens out problem workers
Numerous studies have shown that drug using workers are most likely to have accidents in the workplace, be less productive than other employees, and are more likely to file worker compensation claims than employees who don’t use drugs. With random drug testing, employers will be able to weed out these problem workers and avoid the problems that they are likely to cause.
13. Drug and alcohol testing programs increase employee awareness
Drug and alcohol testing programs are often part of a workplace drug policy that includes programs to educate and increase awareness among employees about alcohol, drug abuse and other health issues as well.
14. Drug testing improves employee morale
When an employer is actively drug testing workers, employees who are not taking drugs in any way, shape or form will feel more safe, considering the kind of trouble that a drug abuser in their midst could bring. Feeling safe does wonders to a person’s morale, employees with improved morale become more productive.
15. Employers can save money with onsite drug testing
Many employers go for onsite drug testing simply because it saves more money and discourages cheating. With workers no longer needing to leave the premises to go to an outside laboratory, employers can reduce loss of productivity associated with having to travel somewhere else for a drug test. The fact that employees are tested immediately also leaves them very little room to cheat and manipulate their test results.
Sure, drug screening in the workplace has an attached cost to it. Its benefits, however, far outweigh the cost. If your company still doesn’t have a program for drug screening in the workplace, it’s time to develop drug and alcohol testing policies that will stipulate such tests.