Employee drug testing is one of the most complicated human resources management issues your company may face. From issues of administration and logistics to privacy and legal liability, the process can be multi-layered and complex.
Non-mandated companies can complete their own drug testing, but is it worth saving a few bucks only to be faced with questionable test administration tactics or custody and control issues? Workplace drug testing may result in an employee’s termination depending on your workplace drug and alcohol policy. Employers want to ensure the process used to support such a decision is sound. Relying on an outside vendor to manage and conduct your company drug and alcohol testing is a safer bet, but not all drug testing companies are created equal, varying in quality, reliability and services.
If you’re seeking out a drug testing company to handle pre-employment, random, reasonable suspicion or post-accident drug testing for your employees, look for a business that couples professionalism with knowledge. You deserve the peace of mind that comes with the most qualified vendor, and your employees deserve the best experience possible.
In the world of employee drug testing, professionalism doesn’t just mean a company with a sharp logo headed by a guy or gal with a firm handshake.
Drug testing companies operate under a web of licensing, operating guidelines and best practices throughout the country. Those performing Department of Transportation (DOT) mandated testing for safety-sensitive jobs anywhere in the country must do so utilizing certified professional collectors.
These individuals have been trained to “ensure that the collection is performed in a professional and consistent manner, maintaining confidentiality for the donor and security, integrity and control of the specimen,” according to the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association.
Training for certified professional collectors is thorough, covering all the steps necessary to complete a urine drug screen. The training includes:
Logistics: Maintaining proper integrity of the collection process, what constitutes a correctable flaw and a fatal flaw, and how to correct problems in collections.
Legal: Custody and Control Form (CCF) processing, employee privacy, and proper control of samples.
Patient Relations: Problem collections such as shy bladder and attempts to adulterate a specimen, avoiding conduct or statements that could be viewed as offensive or inappropriate.
In addition to this education, certified professional collectors must also present a proficiency demonstration. They have to complete five consecutive error-free mock collections, which include:
After the collection is complete, drug testing companies rely on labs to test the specimens they provide. Just like the variety of licensing guidelines throughout the country, testing labs range in quality.
For employees governed under DOT regulations, drug test specimens must be tested at a lab certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Some drug testing companies choose to use SAMHSA-certified labs for all their specimens, due to the labs’ increased oversight.
These labs are certified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as having completed the National Laboratory Certification Program. After receiving certification, SAMHSA labs must uphold rigorous standards and are subject to annual inspections.
Using a SAMHSA-certified lab ensures a level of accuracy that companies need when performing employee drug testing. Many industry experts believe SAMHSA lab-tested specimens are more likely to hold up in court, if a company ever needed to defend itself.
Along with choosing an employee drug testing company that uses highly trained staff and certified labs, make the process easy for yourself by selecting one that offers on-site services.
Mobile drug testing companies bring their services right to your company’s doorstep, helping you avoid the hassle of transporting an employee to and from a clinic for their test. On-site testing helps prevent tampering of the specimen by the employee due to the surprise element.
Ask drug testing vendors about their turnaround time so you know when you can expect test results. This should take no more than two to three days, should the specimen be negative. Expect results to be delivered to you in a clear and secure manner that respects the employee’s privacy.
A drug screening vendor that offers reliable testing is a necessity. If your provider is unavailable on holidays, weekends or evenings then you may want to consider another company who you know will consistently respond regardless of the circumstances. Consider looking for a testing company that provides continuous education to you and your staff about reasonable suspicion testing, reasonable accommodations and the changing landscape of workplace drug and alcohol testing.
This type of training reinforces your commitment to a safe workplace and empowers your employees to feel confident in their decision making process when faced with potential safety issues. Drug and alcohol testing is a valuable resource to a protected workplace.