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Why Random Drug Testing

29 Dec 2015

The simple answer to this question is that it has a high probability of reducing the number of people working at your company that are doing illegal drugs. This means less accidents and sick days, better productivity, and a safer work environment for employees and customers. How do we know this is the most likely outcome? We need only look at an industry that has had federally mandated random testing for many years…the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or the FMCSA.

As of January 2016, the FMCSA has lowered the random drug testing rate from 50% per year to 25% per year due to an ongoing decrease in the positivity rate of random testing. While DOT related positivity rates have been trending down, the same cannot be said for the workforce in general. While the positivity rate of both marijuana and other addictive drugs, many of which are still not being tested for by the more common tests, has been increasing. Instituting random workplace drug testing helps employers ensure their employees are not using illegal or illicit drugs that can be harmful for both the user and their fellow employees and customers.

Ensuring Employee Safety

Some jobs are dangerous to perform even if a person is not impaired. Driving a bus, using heavy equipment, or running machinery requires an employee to be alert and not under the influence. Pre-employment drug testing only goes back 5-8 days so someone seeking employment may just stop long enough to get a job. Random drug testing will help ensure that the employee doesn’t work while under the influence, protecting himself and other staff from potential accidents.

Avoiding Problems Down the Road

Even occasional users may have a drug problem that quickly spirals out of control, transforming even someone who seems like a good employee when hired to someone that is unreliable, shows up late to work, or who may cause an accident to themselves, others, or to your company. Instituting a random program upfront may save a company money though lower turnover and training costs, lower insurance related costs, and reduced legal liability.

Good Public Policy

Having both pre-employment and a random drug testing program can help you stand out as a company. People want to feel safe; they want to know you are reliable and consistent. Having a random testing program can show that you care for your employee’s safety and the customer’s safety and satisfaction. It can also help you attract better candidates leading to better job satisfaction and morale.