A solid drug testing policy can save a company from a world of hurt. Not only can you avoid hiring a potential drug abuser, you can have the peace of mind that comes with the consistent drug testing of your employees.
Even with the best intentions, employee drug testing procedures can go awry in many ways. If you don’t have a reliable drug testing policy, you risk the liability of having an intoxicated employee injure themselves, a co-worker or a member of the public. You risk employing people who are impaired on the job. You risk being subject to lawsuits for poorly handled drug testing.
Your business can’t take the risk of making mistakes with its employee drug and alcohol policy. Read about these five common employer drug testing mistakes and how to avoid them.
Remember that you can’t just test whomever you want, whenever you want. 49 CFR, Part 40 defines six circumstances for which to drug test:
If your company is using the standard five-panel drug test that may be sufficient. However, many companies are expanding the number and type of drugs for which they test. Opioid abuse in particular is costing employers millions in lost work time, accidents and increased health care costs. Businesses are choosing to change their test panel to include additional opiates like hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone and oxymorphone.
Go ahead and reveal everything about your drug testing policy and program to your employees. Don’t make employee drug testing become a mysterious monster in your organization. Explain to your employees that their safety is paramount. Drug and alcohol testing is a part of ensuring a safe workplace for all. An informed employee is generally a happy employee. Educate your employees about the company’s drug testing process. What should they expect? How will they be notified? How will they be expected to respond, and what happens after the test? If you keep everyone in the loop, you reduce confusion and circumvent tense scenarios when the time comes for an employee to be tested.
It’s hard to tell which is the most damaging to an organization – a nonexistent employee drug and alcohol policy, an outdated policy, or a policy that blatantly violates the law. Stop wondering whether your existing policy is compliant, or necessary. Confirmed liability can be the kiss of death to an otherwise thriving business. A company’s drug and alcohol policy and testing program assists you in your efforts to maintain an accident free and productive workplace. Ensure current laws are reflected in your workplace drug and alcohol policy.
Employees are a company’s biggest asset. An impaired employee can affect many areas in a company such as cash flow, revenue development, growth, credit worthiness, reputation and the overall ability to meet client needs.
Pay attention to your workforce. They represent your brand.
Let’s face it, many people avoid confrontation at all costs. It is a common occurrence for Timely Testing to encounter managers who struggle with requesting a test for “Reasonable Suspicion.” It can be difficult to address an employee who you suspect of being under the influence while at work. As such, reasonable suspicion is the least utilized reason for workplace drug and alcohol testing.
When you suspect an employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, documentation is key. Having a written record of your direct observations concerning behavior, appearance, odor and immediate work performance supports your decision to move forward with reasonable suspicion testing. Companies that fail to have procedures in place for this type of testing – regardless of the outcome – put themselves at risk for legal liability, fines and financial losses.