Employers testing workers for drug use is on the rise, and it’s not uncommon to be asked for a sample before joining a job. There are a lot of reasons why an employer would ask for a drug test before an employee joins their team. For example, to ensure worker safety, to lower medical costs, to keep productivity steady, or simply to follow state protocol. It’s interesting how drug testing has increased over the last 5 years with more companies joining the trend. If you do a quick search online, you’ll read extensive content on this topic and will also learn more about its importance.
I was thinking about incorporating random drug testing in my organization so decided to research this topic. I was surprised when I found that there are so many different types of tests being administered by companies. I know this would be a great topic to write about especially if you own a business or are planning on implementing such a practice soon.
Let’s explore some of the most common types below.
First, I’d like to introduce the following chart on random drug testing –
1. Reasonable Suspicion
This type of drug testing is administered in the workplace only if an employer suspects an employee is using drugs. There are many things which would force an employer to believe this: like lower production, aggressive behavior, or even lack of coordination (mainly construction). If you observe the chart above, you’ll notice how 80% of employers are administered drug tests because of suspicious behavior. This makes sense especially when someone who has been working with you for a certain period of time suddenly experiences a great change in productivity compared to before.
2. Post-Accident Testing
This follows the same pattern as someone who starts drinking after a traumatic event has occurred in their life. If someone has been injured away from work or even on the job, then this can lead to increased likelihood of drug use. This is why many companies will monitor medical expenses of employees to see what they are getting help for. If something stands out as a life-changing event, then they’ll most likely start administering random drug tests. In the end, this is to ensure the employee’s own safety, and so the employee can receive the right kind of help.
On the chart, you can see how 73% of companies have implemented testing to monitor post-accident situations.
3. Random Testing
Mainly administered in sports teams, but increasingly in companies to keep productivity and employee safety high. Random drug testing used to be an issue especially when employees were not aware this would happen, but now companies are making sure new employees are well aware before joining. Random drug testing can occur at any time to make sure employees are clean. 46% of companies are now random testing which is up from 39% in 2006.
4. For Cause Testing
Sometimes, companies will require employees to be tested because they are taking on a sensitive project. For example, if your company is working on a third-party project for an external client, then they might require drug testing for anyone working on their project. This is not uncommon for companies like Apple which manufacture products in China and so will require everyone on the line to be tested. 41% of companies require for cause testing, and this has grown ever since outsourcing increased within the last couple of years.
5. Follow-up Testing
If you have been tested and failed the random drug test, then the company has many options available to them. Some will fire you on the spot, while others will require you go into treatment for a specific duration. You’ll either be sent to a third party treatment center or receive help in-house, however, after successful completion of treatment, you will be retested. The follow-up testing can happen immediately, and at a higher frequency too.
The rate of follow-up testing is currently 30%.
6. Baseline Testing
If companies allow workers to use recreational drugs, then a baseline level needs to be considered. This means employees will be initially tested to establish a baseline level, and then tested against this level going forward. Anything above the acceptable baseline level will demand consequences. Baseline testing is a new thing which is why it’s at the bottom of the chart and many companies have not yet implemented it. The states which allow recreational marijuana are the ones that have a baseline policy in place.
I believe drug tests can be a vital tool in making sure high levels workplace safety are maintained. It’s also a great way to ensure productivity doesn’t suffer so you can stay competitive in your niche. The only problem I see is testing the employees who didn’t agree to this policy before joining the company. But, those not doing drugs don’t have to worry and are happy to be tested. Going forward, the company has to make it clear to new employees that random tests might occur while employed.
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