When employers think about drug testing, it can be easy to assume it’s a simple chain of events. Regardless of the reason for the test; however, it’s important to understand the chain of events that is set in motion when you hand an employee a cup and point them toward the bathroom door.
Depending on a company’s policies, supervisors and human resource managers may have a variety of reasons for initiating an employee drug test.
Pre-employment screening is usually the most friendly interaction we encounter in the field while testing for drugs and alcohol. The new employee might be hesitant about the collection process, but they’re excited about their new opportunity and ready to comply. The collector can quickly procure the sample and get it on its way to the lab.
Regular randomized drug testing is likewise a fairly tame situation. Although employees may feel put out, they know about the company’s policy and mostly want to get it done and get on with their day. Timely Testing collectors can be at the office or job site even before employees are selected. They’ll process the employees efficiently, letting workers get back to their tasks with minimal fuss.
With on-site testing, supervisors don’t need to escort employees to a clinic, letting them remain on the job. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act employers have to pay their workers for the time they spend getting to and from mandatory drug testing. So every minute spent on drug testing is money out of the company’s pocket.
Other situations that lead to drug and alcohol testing present more areas of possible tension because of how they arise.
When a boss or manager has a reasonable suspicion that an employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they have the sensitive duty of notifying the employee of their concern and then working with them to comply with a test.
This is when on-site collection services are the most valuable. Employers need not worry about transporting a potentially intoxicated employee to a clinic.
In the case of workplace accidents and injuries, it’s not always clear whether employers have the right to demand that workers who were involved submit to drug tests. In 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) updated its guidelines for when post-accident testing is allowable.
Timely Testing’s collection staff is available around the clock and will respond quickly to perform your needed testing. We can also help guide you through the process of getting your workplace back to normal following an accident where drugs or alcohol may have been a factor.
Once a Timely Testing collector gets to your workplace, he or she will identify the optimum testing area. This is usually the most private restroom space available. The collector will prep the area, making sure the employee doesn’t have access to anything in the room that could taint the sample. In addition to telling them what to expect from the test, the collector will give the employee an opportunity to ask questions. We aim to put everyone at ease and make the process as simple and straightforward as possible.
Our highly trained collectors understand that the chain of custody and control begins the moment they greet the employee and begin completing the Custody and Control form. Whether the drug testing is for compliance with U.S. Department of Transportation regulations or to promote safety, Timely Testing takes the chain of custody seriously. We provide employers with complete, clear custody and control forms, submitted on hard copy and forwarded electronically.
Samples are transported to the laboratory following the collection via FedEx.
To ensure all samples remain secure and the results reliable, Timely Testing uses only laboratories that are certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ensures best practices and regularly inspects these elite labs. SAMHSA also offers numerous resources about responsible drug testing for employers on its website.
If everything comes back negative, you can just go back to business as usual. If drugs are detected in your employee’s system, you have some tough decisions to make. Turnaround time for results can depend on the type of test administered, but in most cases, Timely Testing clients receive the results of urine tests within 24-48 hours following the test. In the case of an on-site alcohol breath test, Timely Testing uses Alco-Sensor RBT IV breath alcohol devices, providing employers with an immediate printout of the result.
For a urine test, employers receive the results in a report that indicates the type of drug, if any, that was detected. Timely Testing requires that all positive samples be reviewed by a Medical Review Officer (MRO). The MRO first attempts to contact the employee to discuss any prescribed medications that could cause a non negative test result. The test result is then released to the employer. Some employers offer workers who test positive an opportunity to retain their job through a Last Chance Agreement. Timely Testing can assist you with a Last Chance Agreement along with a schedule for follow-up testing to give you the peace of mind you need during such a stressful time.
Workers regulated by the DOT must complete that agency’s return to duty process, which involves working with a physician or substance abuse professional. Employers aren’t responsible for helping employees connect with or pay for this treatment, but they do have to make sure their workers fulfill their obligation before letting them get back behind the wheel or in a forklift seat.