Drug testing is often done during the hiring process, but what about after? While it can be a difficult decision to make, periodic drug testing of your employees has some pretty substantial benefits. One of the best reasons to integrate periodic drug testing into your HR plan is safety. Employees that use, or are addicted to a substance can put all of your employees at risk.

Introducing Your Drug Testing Policy

Employees with substance abuse problems are not only a risk for serious accidents, they are also costly. These employees tend to have lower performance, they are often absent from work or late, and they struggle with being productive when they are at work.  This also puts an additional stress on your hard working employees.

When introducing a random or periodic drug testing policy to your employees you should explain the reason and clearly articulate the positives of implementing the change.  While employee morale may be impacted at first, once implemented you employees will appreciate your commitment to keeping the workplace safe. If your employees work in dangerous or high security jobs, putting a drug testing plan in place is even more critical, and while some states may require drug testing in particular fields, having your own plan for periodic drug testing can be an added benefit.  There are some things that you will need to consider when putting together a periodic drug testing plan.

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 Local/State Laws for Drug Tests

It is important that you are aware of the laws in both your state and local municipalities, some states and localities have restrictions on periodic or random drug testing. Before you start to implement your drug testing policy you should research all laws and statutes that apply to employer drug testing in your area.

In the event you feel that you have an impaired employee, you are generally covered when drug testing an employee that presents a risk to other employees.  For instance, if you have an employee that smells strongly of alcohol or marijuana and is acting inappropriately in the work place, it would be acceptable to drug test the employee in most situations.

Choosing the Best Drug Test For Your Needs

When putting together a comprehensive drug testing plan for your organization it is important to choose your screening method or methods. You can choose to use a third party to conduct your testing periodically, or you can decide to purchase testing kits that you can use for random screening, or when you feel an employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If you choose to do some or all of your testing in house, there are few ways you can approach the testing.  The first thing you need is a way to collect specimens from your employee, the most common way to do that is with a urine test.  However, you can also utilize options that collect hair or saliva samples, or in the case of alcohol abuse you can use a breath test as well.

If you do choose to implement in house testing there are some options available that can give you accurate and fast results. For random testing, or if you are suspicious of an employee’s drug or alcohol use, these can be a cost effective choice. While some of these kits may not meet your federal or state standards, they can still provide you with a quick result that will allow you to use an outside lab to confirm your results.

When the Result is Positive

When an in house test comes back positive it can be confusing as to what steps you should take from there. It is important that you utilize an outside laboratory to confirm the result. You can send the sample to the lab or you can choose to send the employee to have a full screening. You should document a clear process for positive results, and train any employee involved in the testing process how to handle a positive test.

Results from a certified lab will ensure that all decisions made after confirmation are based on confirmed data. Courts will be more likely to uphold a decision to separate an employee for substance abuse when there is concrete data from a professional laboratory. It also leaves you with the confidence that you have made the right decision.