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Should your company implement a drug testing policy?

Whilst few businesses would argue against an employee’s private life being his or her own affair, it is undeniable that regular use of drugs by workers, including alcohol, can have a severely detrimental effect upon a firm’s success. This is why a company may consider implementing a drug testing policy.

Statistics have shown that higher levels of absenteeism, increases in incidences of at-work injuries, and lower productivity can result from businesses having employees who are abusers of drugs and alcohol. This can raise the cost of running a business, with them having to make more payouts in terms of sick leave, overtime, and insurance claims, to name just a few.

There are several reasons why implementing a drug policy is a good idea for businesses. Firstly, it shows a desire to aid the working community and adopts a positive approach to fighting drug use and abuse. Secondly, it improves the safety of the workplace for non-drug users, reducing the chances of them being abused, either verbally or physically, by colleagues who are drunk or high, as well as reducing the risk of accidents occurring. Thirdly, a policy should also help to ensure that productivity levels remain at a sustainable and profitable level, protecting the jobs of employees. These three reasons are not only good for the company, but obviously have significant advantages for non-drug using employees as well.

Implementing a policy

Implementing a new drug testing policy into the business is no easy task. Existing employees will no doubt be offended by the implementation, so any move in this direction must be shown to apply to everyone in the workforce. An employer must also ensure that they are within the law in regard to their drug testing policy.

To convince employees of the efficacy of drug testing, the policy must contain certain things. It must use tests that are accurate and reliable, so that employees are not falsely accused of taking drugs or consuming unacceptable amounts of alcohol. The company should also ensure they are using testing methods which cannot be thwarted or tricked by savvy employees and would be well advised to choose their testing kits wisely, perhaps even outsourcing the task. Outsourcing to a company who specializes in this field may be an economical and sensible choice for businesses, and they can obtain drug testing from Matrix Diagnostics or other similar firms.

The company must produce literature that states their drug testing policy and make it available to all their employees. This lets employees know what to expect when they have a mandatory drug test and leaves less room for there to be misunderstandings between their employer and themselves. It should also define which drugs are considered unacceptable, for example, prescribed drugs should not be included in an exemption policy, and what constitutes misuse of drugs. The policy should also set out who is responsible for its implementation and whom it applies to. It should apply to all staff, including managers. Finally, confidentiality must be guaranteed to provide employee reassurance.

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