Workplace drug and alcohol testing is quite a controversial area due to privacy issues. However, an increasing number of employers are engaging in random drug and alcohol testing to ensure workplace safety and efficiency. For many employers one of the key factors which causes hesitation is the cost of the drug tests. However, businesses are starting to find that the cost could be much higher to the workplace if drug testing is not carried out.
The cost of modern drug testing kits such as saliva drug tests are low compared to the costs of not testing. If an employer is taken to court over an injury or fatality, which happens in the workplace, they can be sued for not having a drug testing program in place. It is deemed a breach of duty as a safe workplace has not been provided. The Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act states that all employers have responsibility for the administration and enforcement of the laws enacted to protect the safety and health of workers in America.
If an employer knowingly allows an employee to carry on working under the influence of drink or drugs they could be subject to legal action. Its also important that if they realize someone is under the influence in the office, that they know what to do. All responsibility ultimately lies with the employer.
There are also everyday costs to the business due to reduced job performance, lower productivity levels and absenteeism. A regular drug user is four times more likely to be involved in an accident at work and drug use accounts for almost 80% of thefts in the workplace.
By implementing a workplace drug and alcohol testing strategy, it will raise awareness in the workplace of the consequences of misuse. If an employee is found to be under the influence of substances at work, although they will need to be removed from the workplace, it does give the employer a chance to provide the employee with the help they need.