With drug abuse in the workplace becoming a growing concern among employers, it does not come as a surprise that workplace drug testing is becoming increasingly common. After all, drug abuse can have an adverse impact on the workplace. And it is within the rights of employers to take any action they deem necessary to protect, not only the health and safety of workers, but the organisation as a whole, as well. If you’re an employer and you’re thinking about conducting work place drug testing, know that there are a number of things you need to take into consideration. Here are some of them.
Put a clear drug and alcohol policy in place
Employers are encouraged to develop drug and alcohol testing policies. A clear drug and alcohol policy is an essential component of any drug-free workplace program. While it’s but natural for a workplace drug policy to rattle off don’ts and state expected behaviours within the workplace, it would be even better if the policy also covers the education of the employee and the employer on their responsibilities, the drug testing process, the employees to be tested and how, and how frequently it should be done. The workplace drug policy should also clearly state the steps that need to be taken if and when someone tests positive for drug use. The policy should also be reiterated on a regular basis, especially during the holidays, when workers are out on parties and are even more likely to imbibe alcohol and, in the case of some, take drugs.
Tread lightly when testing for alcohol and drugs
Employers should keep in mind that workplace testing for alcohol and drugs can prove to be tricky. Laws that guarantee an individual’s right to privacy might butt heads with workplace drug testing procedures. For this reason, an employer who is keen on implementing workplace drug testing should seek legal counsel before doing so. It would also be in everyone’s best interest to clearly indicate how tests are going to be conducted. Since a saliva test is cheaper, more employers are using it, but a non-negative result in a saliva test is just an indicator, so it has to go back to a laboratory. And if the employer starts out with a saliva test, then the employer has to maintain the same process the entire time. Other technicalities that an employer should strictly abide by include following the correct chain of custody from the testing protocol and how they are forwarded to the lab, and ensuring that the forms to be filled out are completed to make sure the tests are unadulterated by establishing clearly who’s signing off on the necessary documents.
Know which drug test to use
For workplace drug testing, the options usually involve collecting urine samples or oral fluid collection. If the employer is only testing if a worker is fit to work today, the saliva test will do, as it can pick up key ingredients that will tell whether he or she is under the influence of a substance or not. A urine test, on the other hand, is capable of detecting substances that have been in an individual’s system for a much longer period of time, which means it is best if you are trying to determine whether a person is a habitual drug user or not. What other ways can help you promote a drug-safe working environment?