The Importance of Pre-Employment Drug Testing: Ensuring a Reliable Workforce
Having reliable employees helps businesses improve productivity and morale. Employees who use illegal drugs can miss work, leave for unexplained reasons, and cause workplace accidents that put themselves and others at risk.
Pre-employment drug testing can help employers maintain a safe workplace and avoid costly workers' compensation claims. Employers also benefit from routine drug screenings for current employees.
Prevents Accidents and Injuries
An employee's use of drugs affects their ability to perform job-related tasks. Drug abuse leads to accidents, injuries, and lost productivity, which costs the company money in absenteeism, workers' compensation, and legal repercussions.
Pre-employment drug testing helps to prevent these issues by ensuring that only drug-free employees are hired. The test looks not for the drug but its metabolites produced when drugs are ingested or injected into the body.
Post-accident and for cause drug testing Pennsylvania can also help prevent accidents and injuries by identifying possible drug use. These tests are only administered when there is a reason to suspect that drugs could have contributed to the incident, such as physical signs like slurred speech or a shallow work performance.
Lowers Turnover Rates
Employers with a well-managed drug testing program find that they have lower employee turnover rates. A drug-free workplace also increases employee morale and productivity.
A company can establish a pre-employment drug screening policy that makes passing a test a condition of employment. These tests usually look for several drugs, including urine, hair, blood, or saliva (oral fluid) samples. Urine testing is the most common.
In addition, companies can perform periodic or post-accident drug testing for employees. However, it is essential to note that these tests may need to be revised. The reason is that certain types of drugs can mask or delay their detection in the body's system. This can cause false positives and other errors. It is essential to consult with a professional laboratory when choosing these services.
Employers with an effective drug testing program will avoid the negative impacts of discrimination and lawsuits. These tests must be administered in a way that complies with federal and state civil rights and workers' compensation laws. Random testing, also known as "spot" testing, is an excellent deterrent to employees who use drugs. But, it must be done consistently and cannot be used to target specific applicants.
It is illegal to single out an individual for drug testing based on race, religion, sex, or national origin. The ADA prohibits this type of discrimination and requires that employers have reasonable suspicion to request an employee take a drug test. Urine screening is the most common type of drug test for companies that must comply with federal regulations. Other options include hair, saliva (oral fluid), and sweat samples.
Lowers Workers' Compensation Costs
Drug testing is a cost-effective investment that minimizes accidents and injuries in the workplace. Companies that implement comprehensive drug testing programs report increased productivity and staff morale.
Urinalysis tests are the most commonly used test for pre-employment screening. They can detect several different types of drugs and provide a detailed drug history for the past three to six months.
Blood testing is also available, though it is expensive and more invasive than urine testing. It has a shorter detection window and is generally only used in safety-sensitive positions or by government contractors.
Some employees may resent being required to periodically or randomly submit to drug tests. Still, employers must establish objective criteria and clarify that their employment is conditional upon passing the test. Many former drug addicts are working to get clean and build a stable life for themselves, and they need jobs that will allow them to do so.
Companies that conduct regular drug testing claim they see an increase in overall job performance and staff morale. These companies also minimize accidents and demonstrate to their employees that the workplace is safe.
Companies rely on urine, sweat, saliva, or hair samples to test for drugs in the body. Employers choose the type of test based on their workforce and budget. Urine tests are a good choice for most businesses because they can detect marijuana, cocaine, opiates, and phencyclidine (PCP). More extensive panel tests can also detect abuse of prescription drugs like painkillers.
Many states have specific rules for what types of drugs can be tested. For-cause testing can determine if an employee is under the influence when there are observable signs of substance use, like slurred speech, slowed movements, and unexplained absenteeism.