• Tips for Analyzing, Designing, and Implementing a Drug Testing Program

    Drug testing is an important component of a drug-free workplace program. It encourages employers and employees to maintain a violence-free office environment. It also motivates employees who use illegal drugs to seek for an early intervention and treatment. Likewise, an efficient drug testing policy can help deter employees from using drugs and alcohol in the first place.

    When analyzing, designing, and implementing a drug testing program, you should consider consulting a professional corporate lawyer with experience to handling workplace drug testing. You can also seek for the help of a reputable Third Party Administrator (TPA) who can guide your organization in administering the right workplace drug testing methods without violating employee rights.

    Listed here are some factors you need to keep in mind when analyzing, designing, and implementing a drug testing program.

    1. Components of a drug testing program – The five components of a drug testing program include policy, supervisor training, employee education, employee assistance, and drug testing. A drug testing program should include a clear policy that discourages employers and employees from using drugs and alcohol. It should explain why alcohol and drugs are harmful and state the consequence in case of any attempt to disobey the policy.

    2. Employee motivation – It is not enough to display a written policy in visible work sites. To motivate employees to follow the drug test program, an organization must implement a drug-education program, which can be held once a month depending on the demands of the company. During lectures, forums, seminars, and workshops, the organization can invite resource speakers to speak about alcohol and drugs. The organization should also make sure that the drug testing program will support supervisor training and provide employee assistance.

    3. Different types of drug test –There are several ways to test an individual for the presence of drug metabolites. If you are planning to implement a drug testing program in your workplace, you should at least know the different types of drug tests to be able to choose which meets your corporate needs, goals, and budget. The four widely used drug testing types include the saliva test, urine test, hair follicle test, and blood test.  Urine test is still the most commonly used method of drug testing for its accuracy and reliability.

    4. Drug testing checklist –The checklist may include federal and state laws that support the employees’ rights; contacting US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) certified laboratory; informing employees 30 to 60 days prior to the implementation, and assigning a reliable person to receive the result of the drug test from the laboratory with confidentiality.

    5. Beware of the drug testing policy –The following are some examples of the things that an organization should be aware of when implementing a drug test program.

    • Inconsistency in implementing the drug test program, such that the schedule for the drug test is not followed or the drug test is not administered at all
    • publicizing the drug test results
    • penalizing an employee when only an initial result is available from the laboratory
    • using laboratories that are not accredited  by the Department of Health and Human Services
    • confronting a suspected drug user alone

    6. Frequency of drug tests – Some organizations conduct drug testing on a random basis, which is one of the most effective ways to deter employees from using alcohol and drugs. An organization may also conduct drug testing as part of the pre-employment process or during an annual physical test, whenever there are reasonable suspicions, during a pre-promotion test, after an accident, or during follow up tests.

    7. Validity of the drug testing program – The drug test program should be validated and approved by your company lawyer. It should clearly state who pays for the drug test, actions to be taken against the employee who is found to be positive with drug use, and the steps to guarantee the accuracy of the drug test result. Most importantly, it should state the legal rights of the employees who are caught positive in their drug test. The lawyer will have the right to edit and correct the flaws of the policy in order for it to become valid, effective, and fair to everybody.

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    Categories: Workplace Drug Testing

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