Making the workplace safe with employee drug testing

A Safe Workplace is a Drug-Free Workplace!

Did you know that the majority of individuals who abuse drugs and alcohol are employed? These individuals can create significant health and safety hazards in the workplace. Studies have shown that the smaller work places are more likely to face the disadvantage of drug abuse because they do not have programs in place to combat it. It is also more likely for smaller workplaces to employ drug users. This can however be prevented by smaller workplaces investing in a comprehensive drug-free program that would reduce the use of drugs by employees. Such a program whether in a small or large organization normally consists of five components:


Written Policies

These policies are in fact the foundation of creating a drug-free workplace and should clearly describe the allowed behavior in terms of drug use and what the consequences are for drug misuse. It is important that these policies are easily accessible to all employees to make sure that they are aware of what is required and expected of them.



Once the policies have been implemented, the workplace needs to invest in training. In most cases, supervisors and managers will be trained so that they can understand the policies and what is required so that they can monitor and enforce the policies.



It is also important that employees on the work floor are educated on the nature of drug addiction and its impact on their work performance and their personal and health life.


Despite all of your efforts, in the end, you will most likely have employees who have problems with alcohol and drug use. It is important that you provide these employees with the assistance that they need to overcome these problems otherwise they will be a liability on the work floor. 


Drug Testing

It is very important to get your employees to take a drug test at regular intervals. In fact, an employee should only be hired after he has taken a drug test and has passed it with satisfactory results. Once employed, he should be required to take a drug test at least twice a year. When it comes to implementing drug testing on the work place, there are three important questions that you should consider:

Who will be tested?

When will they be tested?

For which substances will they be tested?

Drug Testing Challenges 

The third question is one that you should definitely focus on. Employers today are facing more and more challenges when it comes to drugs testing. For example, today employers need to decide whether or not they want to pay extra to get their employees tested for synthetics cannabinoids and cathinones. There is a trend amongst manufacturers pertaining to synthetic drugs and that is that manufacturers are always trying to be one step ahead of the law. While the law is banning a substance, manufacturers are changing the chemical build up. This is a serious issue not only for the law but for employers who are striving to create a safe and drug-free environment. 

Another challenge faced by employers are drugs that are being legalized. Marijuana for example is in the processed of being legalized in many countries. The dangers is legalizing marijuana lies in the fact that it becomes easier for people to start using drugs and the majority of them will most likely move from smoking marijuana to smoking other more harmful drugs.

Uses of Drug Testing in an Organization

Drug testing can be used in a number of situations within an organization to benefit the employer. These include:

All applicants must take a drug test before being selected for a job

All new employees must take a drug test at the end of their probation period

Employees should be tested routinely, occasionally or on a random basis for drugs

Certain circumstances will require a drug test to be taken.

For example, if there is an accident or incident on the workplace, having all involved parties take a drug test might provide you with useful data on the situation.

Professional Drug Testing Advice

If you need advice on setting up your drug and alcohol policy to best meet the needs of your organization, you should contact Alere. They specialize in keeping the work place drug free by offering a number of drug related services:

Advice on setting up drug and alcohol policies

Training on misusing drugs

Background checking on new employees

Employee Assistance Program which provides 24/7 advice to employees through a confidential helpline

Laboratory testing for drugs in oral fluid, urine and hair samples 

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