Workplace drug screening can be a touchy subject. Obviously you want your employees to be healthy and productive, but if you’re not careful you might break their trust — and the law. At Worker Care, we get a lot of questions about drug testing from employers. That’s why we’ve assembled some answers to the most common ones:
WHY SHOULD I TEST MY EMPLOYEES?
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, drug abuse costs American businesses $140 billion annually. Employee drug abuse causes as much as 50% of all on-the-job accidents, and up to 40% of employee theft. In addition, drug-abusing employees are absent ten times more frequently than non-users, and the turnover rate for drug-abusing employees is 30% higher than clean employees.
In addition, hiring a new employee creates a lot of unknowns. Drug testing can help you answer a few questions about that person, making sure they are going to be good fit for your company’s culture.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF DRUG TESTING?
The benefits of drug testing are many, and all of the benefits translate directly to an improved and more profitable business, not to mention a better company culture and employee morale.
Improved safety. Drug use impairs a person’s judgment and increase safety risks. This is especially concerning in certain industries, such as construction, in which impaired judgement could cause injury or death.
Better performance. Workers under the influence of drugs may struggle to stay on task, letting their minds drift toward problems that aren’t related to their work. Drug testing allows employers to target those employees who aren’t reaching their full potential due to illicit drug use, removing weak links and improving their company’s performance overall.
Productivity and profits. Substance abuse can lead to missed deadlines and decreased attendance, which directly impacts your company’s profits. And it’s important to note that drug abuse also causes up to 40% of employee theft, another profit killer.
Turnover rates. Pre-employment drug testing is a great way to find employees who fit your company’s goals and standards, and it reduces the likelihood that you will have to fire a new employee down the road, allowing you to retain valuable workers and decrease your turnover rate.
Medical costs. Substance abuse can dramatically increase a person’s medical costs. Workplace drug testing also allows employers to decrease their health insurance premiums and health costs by reducing on-the-job accidents and drug-related illnesses. It’s a win-win situation: improving the health of your employees, while reducing your costs.
I JUST HAVE A SMALL BUSINESS. DO I NEED TO DRUG TEST?
It depends on the type of business you run. Generally speaking, it’s not required for small businesses to conduct drug tests (although it’s a good idea). However, employers who are regulated by the Department of Transportation have specific drug and alcohol testing requirements, and employers who do more than $25,000 of business with the federal government are required to comply with the Drug-Free Workplace Act.
I’VE DECIDED TO TEST MY EMPLOYEES. HOW DO I PROCEED?
When you make the decision to begin testing your employees, you’ll have several choices to make initially:
Will you test your employees on-site or at Worker Care?
When would you like to implement the program?
Will you randomly test?
Which drug panel would you like to use?
There are also legal issues associated with workplace drug testing, and employers who decide to test must follow applicable state and local laws. Therefore, a comprehensive, well-thought-out workforce drug testing program — which addresses who should be tested and when — is essential to protecting your company. Worker Care can help you create your policy manual, or we can also provide you with a template if you want to write it yourself. If you do decide to implement a new drug policy, make sure to give proper notice to your employees (usually 30 days), so they have time to give you notice if they decide not participate.
We know this a lot to take in, and you are bound to have questions about all of this, but that’s why Worker Care is here. Give us a call and we can walk you through the details about setting up a comprehensive drug-testing policy and getting your program off to a good start.