There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the idea of drug testing. Why do companies drug test their employees? Workers might suggest it is due to a lack of trust and may have a rather negative attitude towards the entire concept. Employers themselves might suggest that it is all about protecting their business from the damage that drugs can inflict. But what are the real reasons? As it turns out, the causes behind drug tests are far more expansive than most people realize. Indeed, there are several reasons why some companies insist on drug testing their employees. These include safety, legal, protection, morality and even an ethical urge to do what’s right. Let’s look at some of these ideas in a little more detail and explain why drug tests are important.
Being Part of The Community
There are many people in society who would agree that drug abuse is a scourge. You will often see this when it is revealed that there is a drug abuse problem in a local area. The community is immediately up in arms and starts looking for ways to get rid of the issue as quickly as possible. This often includes casting blame in the wrong direction. For instance, they often blame the people taking the drugs rather than the ones providing them. As such, companies feel as though they must do their part to help fight the cause. They want the local people who are probably also customers to know they take drug abuse seriously. They do not want to be labeled a soft touch and therefore make sure it is known drug testing occurs in their business.
Safety for All
It is true to say that drug use by workers could put some people in danger. They could hurt themselves, other employees, customers, and even the employer. Anyone in their vicinity could be at risk and even people who aren’t. For instance, an employee using drugs might have been producing a product for customers. That product may have needed strict safety checks. However, due to the drug abuse, these were not conducted effectively. As such, once a product was bought it injured a customer. What happens next? Well, that brings us to the third reason for testing in a company.
If anyone is injured due to the actions of an employee or business, there will be an investigation. There may even be a legal claim presented to sue the business at fault. Note, it won’t be the employee directly who suffers the legal consequences but rather the business as a whole. As such, it is certainly in an employer’s best interest to run drug tests. Even with this testing, there is the possibility that an accident will mean they must pay up. But evidence that an employee was using drugs could double or even triple the amount they must pay.
Protect Business Reputation
Of course, it’s not just legal damages that they must worry about. Business owners also need to consider what effect a lawsuit like this could have on the reputation of their company. If a report reveals that employees were using drugs and checks were not in place, it might stop customers buying. It could even scare off investors leaving the business without a source of funding.
Keeping Productive and Effective
There might be cases where drug abuse in the workplace does not result in an accident or injury. It could, however, still be affecting productivity levels. Illegal narcotics often have extensive effects on the brain and the body. In comes cases, drug use could mean that an employee’s performance is affected. If this occurs, they will be completing less work throughout the day and damaging the productivity levels of the business.
It will be interesting to see the effect of this in places such as California where Marijuana has been legalized for recreational use. Will this make the use of drugs more of a problem for employers? Will it encourage for businesses to implement drug checks on a regular basis? Marijuana has been legalized because research has shown limited negative effects on the mind or the body. In fact, many would argue that extensive use of marijuana is less damaging than drinking alcohol. However, it can still impact concentration levels and therefore should not be used in the workplace by anyone.
To Help Drug Users
If employees are using drugs, they need help, and without drug testing, they might not get it. A lot of people think that drug tests are used to kick out anyone found to be using an illegal substance. This isn’t the case in most businesses. Many companies will work to get employees the help that they need. They may arrange rehabilitation for them and will not automatically show them the door. There will usually be an extensive period where businesses work to get their employees back on the right path. In doing so, they could ultimately save their life and their career. Employees may see drug testing as a waste of time and a lack of trust. But ultimately it is usually a force for good.
Avoid Heavy Costs
There is one other reason why some business owners insist on drug testing, and it’s a financial one. They want to make sure that medical costs and accident expenses are kept to a minimum. First, if employees are using drugs, it’s possible that they will injure employees in the workplace. This will lead to more accidental injury claims that cost businesses a lot of money. There is also the fact that drug users are four more times more likely to need medical treatment throughout the year. If the business is paying for health insurance, this is going to cost them a fortune. Finally, there are worker’s compensation clauses that will mean employers won’t have to pay for an injury if drug use was a factor. However, this clause can only be used by employers if workers are drug tested.
Drug testing employees has been a debatable topic through the years, but the above laid out ideas might convince you to implement a drug testing policy at your place of business.