Employee Drug Screening
How your company is losing money by employing a drug abuser:
- The medical costs of an employee that uses drugs is 300% higher which increases insurance rates –(US Chamber of Commerce)
- Worker’s Comp claims are 5 times more likely to be filed by drug users – (US Dept of Labor)
- Roughly 30% - 50% of all Workers Comp claims are related to drug abuse in the work place – (US Dept of Labor)
- Drug Abuse/Addiction will likely cause an employee to only function at about 67% of his/her capacity – (National Institute on Drug Addiction)
- On average a drug abusing employee is 3 times more likely to be tardy to their shift and have an absentee rate of 30-35 days per year – (US Dept of Labor)
There were 2 main incidents that essentially began the “Drug Free Workplace Campaign”. The 1981 USS Nimitz crash and the 1987 Maryland train accident. Both resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, many injuries and many fatalities. After investigations of both incidents, it was found that drugs were a contributing factor in these deadly accidents, prompting new regulations for mandatory testing for federally regulated employers.
As the years went on, studies were conducted and found that drug abuse was an existing problem in the work place which prompted private employers to follow suit with the government in testing of their employees.
Cost played a huge factor in drug testing. Urine was easy to collect, transport, test, and cost efficient in drug detection at the time. Over the years though, many factors, including specimen alteration/dilution have come to steer testing in other directions.
What to Know Now
When considering drug testing for new employees, for cause, or post accident, here are some things to keep in mind.
- Urine: Still the most cost efficient means of drug testing. Can detect most drugs up to 7 days prior. There are many ways that the specimen can be altered which may result in “un-true” results. Has ability to have instant results, but will still need to be reviewed by a certified lab.
- Saliva: Great for “on the spot” testing such as pre-employment, post accident or for cause. Can be done right in front of person without invading privacy. Very difficult to alter results. May only detect drug/alcohol for the last 24 hours.
- Hair: Will need to be collected by certified lab person(s). May detect presence of drug use from 7 days post use up to 90 days post use. Great for pre-employment. Not a good test for post accident or for cause. Most expensive form of drug testing. Almost impossible to alter specimen.
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