When left unaddressed, the problem of illicit drug abuse in workplaces can result in dangerous consequences for both individuals and organizations. While some organizations are required by law to conduct periodic, incident-based or random drug testing of new hires and existing workers, others need to consider the wide range of benefits they can avail by creating and implementing a drug-free workplace policy. Random drug testing is an essential part of such a policy. Here in this post, we will discuss why random drug testing is a must-have and not just a nice-to-have in the workplace.
Random Drug Testing Is a Necessity in Some Industries
Many US companies that employ workers in safety-sensitive positions regulated by the government, in industries such as transport, mining, construction, and public safety are required to perform random drug testing.
Workers under the influence of alcohol or drugs can end up compromising the safety of colleagues and the general public at large. If some workers are using drugs such as cocaine, heroin, meth, etc. or other non-medical prescription drugs, they’re more likely to create workplace hazards.
For jobs such as truck driving or factory work, impaired judgment and slow reaction times resulting from repeated drug use can lead to serious injuries or even fatalities. Random drug testing helps prevent harm to the employees, customers, the public, and company equipment.
Deter Workplace Drug Abuse with Random Drug Testing
Once your company introduces a drug-free workplace policy with a provision for random drug testing, it can motivate several employees to preempt the possibility of getting caught. Many workers, who may otherwise continue consuming alcohol while on the job or use illicit drugs on a regular basis except on few occasions when yearly drug tests are conducted, are likely to be more careful. They may feel more inclined to follow the drug-free workplace policy. Drug testing can also deter rehabilitated drug users, employed by your organization, from relapsing again.
Supervisors need not be Mind Readers
The supervisors or the HR department staffers aren’t mind readers. At best, they can observe some signs and symptoms that do not necessarily imply workplace drug abuse. Regardless of whether you’ve less than 100 employees or thousands at different locations, it is practically impossible to know when an employee is on something. With random drug testing, however, you need not rely on guesswork anymore. Your workplace supervisors need not play mind readers anymore.
Random Drug Testing Helps Companies Weed Out Drug Users
Your company can hire and retain the best employees by simply being upfront about the drug policy when hiring. Drug users do not prefer working for companies that actively test their employees for drug use. When your company promotes the fact that it routinely performs random drug testing, it helps weed out candidates you don’t want.
Random Drug Testing Helps Reduce Costs
Drug addiction costs businesses and organizations in the United States approximately $81 billion a year. This is due to increased absenteeism, low work quality, decreased productivity, thefts in the workplace, disability claims, employee illness, etc. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 70% of all individuals with alcohol or drug problems continue to remain employed in the United States. Therefore, it is necessary for any business to consider random drug testing as part of their drug-free workplace policy.
Identify Co-workers Who Need Help
A business establishment may not adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards workplace drug abuse even if it’s mandated by the applicable state laws. It is important to look at random drug testing as a means to identify co-workers who need help. Drug testing helps prevent drug addiction in current employees.
Your company can also sponsor an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Currently, millions of people in the US are in recovery from alcohol and other drugs. Therefore, having a drug-free workplace isn’t exactly impossible.
Protect the Company Reputation
Every business organization needs to foster trust in customers by presenting itself as competent and thoroughly professional. The employees who interact with customers are considered the face of your company. Therefore, any organization serious about protecting its reputation needs to make sure that the sales reps, delivery personnel, guards, customer support staff or anyone else who comes in contact with customers and clients, whether physically or electronically, isn’t impaired by drug use.
Before you conduct drug tests on your employees, it is important that you’re aware of the basic drug testing considerations for employers. Random drug testing is a smart investment that you can make for a safer and healthier workplace in the future. In the long run, you save more in terms of increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, improved work quality, and fewer healthcare costs. Just make sure you use a software program or hire a third party for performing random drug tests. Adhering to the applicable federal and state laws concerning random drug testing is an absolute necessity. Such laws vary across states. Therefore, it is advisable to go through the state-specific drug testing laws.