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Top tips for an effective drug testing program

A drug testing policy for your company gives you the chance to express your position on staff members’ drug abuse. For some employees, just knowing that the company has an active drug testing policy and that they can be held accountable for their behavior is usually enough to deter future drug abuse. In most cases, employee drug testing programs can strengthen employees’ commitment and tend to become productive. 

An effective drug testing program can make sure that the workplace is safe. This is why more companies have drug testing procedures. But sometimes personal biases or little knowledge can affect the importance and purpose of these drug tests. Without neutrality, consistency, and accuracy, drug tests can become useless. This article provides some top tips for an effective drug testing program.

Drug testing

Any employer who wants to implement a drug testing program needs to understand the laws in the areas where their company operates because they tend to vary a lot. In some states, you can do random drug testing only if the drug testing is authorized by federal law, the employee works in a safety-sensitive or high-risk position, or the drug test is being done as part of a staff member’s assistance program that is authorized or sponsored by the employer and the employee voluntarily participates.

There can also be the right to privacy of the employee, so most drug tests like random drug tests are usually allowed in rare situations. But pre-employment tests are often allowed in most states. 

You can decide to do drug tests after an accident to determine if an employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when it happened. Most experts recommend that you should do post-accident testing at least twelve hours after the accident. You should note that different drugs can have different detection windows. 

The federal government allows most workplace drug-testing programs but should be conducted following the Occupational Safety and Health Act. But you need to make sure that you implement a post-accident drug-testing policy that is properly written and doesn’t prevent employees from reporting accidents. 

And, if your staff member behaves like he is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you can test them for reasonable suspicion. You can conduct this test at any occupational health clinic. The reason for sending the staff member for drug screening and observed behavior should be properly documented. 

Tips for an effective drug testing program 

Your drug testing program needs to be transparent, fair, and effective. You can achieve this by having clear rules. You should note that effective drug testing programs should be clear and need to have documented rules. You need to apply these rules to all your employees. Complete consistency and transparency in administering drug tests are a must. Therefore, you cannot change or make these rules flexible. If you have clearly defined rules that you apply fairly, it can improve the behavior and morale of your employees. Even better, it can deter drug or alcohol abuse, and ensure that staff members understand what is expected. 

Drug testing can be effective if you administer it at the right time. The times when you need to conduct drug testing include pre-employment, post-accident, random testing, and many more.

Pre-employment drug testing has increased over the years. Most employers are not doing pre-employment drug testing, though you should also do random testing. Remember that an employee can abstain from drug use just to pass the pre-employment drug test and can revert to using drugs when the hiring process is complete.

This is the reason why you need to do random drug testing to prevent alcohol and drug abuse at workplaces. But you need to do it in an unbiased and neutral way. This means that any employee can be selected for drug testing via a randomized system. 

When you automate the system, drug testing can be based on the randomized selection that is determined by an algorithm. This makes the process reliable and transparent. Because it’s randomized, there is a chance that one employee may be requested to do a drug test consecutively. Therefore, you need to make it clear to your employees that this can happen.

Also, make sure that you limit the period between when an employee is notified of the drug test and the time they take it. Drug testing a staff member post-accident or after there was a long break is also crucial to ensure that they are not under any type of drug influence. 

Make sure that the drug test you choose is effective. Take note that choosing the wrong drug test can prove useless. Today, a urine test is the most common drug test because it allows you to test a wide range of drugs. But if accuracy is what you want, then the hair drug test can be a more reliable drug test alternative. The truth is that drug testing is quite an expensive procedure, making it necessary that you choose the right drug test. 

Some employees have found clever ways to cheat a drug test. Therefore, you should ensure that there is no cheating. You need to know the good testing procedure and do due diligence when choosing a testing vendor. Also, you should know the location the samples are to go for testing and ask about the principles, market reputation, and procedures of the vendor.

No doubt, a workplace needs to be free of alcohol or drugs. Drug abuse can affect other staff members and customers besides the user. You should learn how to spot the signs of alcohol or drug abuse. Negligence in drug abuse identification can cause bad consequences later. And, if the behavior gives you a reasonable suspicion that a person is under the influence, you must follow the guidelines put in place by the SAMHSA. 

Take note that the SAMHSA guidelines have cut-off levels that are quite high to account for any passive exposure as well as random false positives. But false positives are often less likely to occur than false negatives as long as there are strict collection, management, and analysis procedures that need to be followed.



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