Workplace Drug Testing
The smooth and effective management of any company and business is predicated on many different factors. The culture of a workplace is important, as is the management and how they interact with each other and employees. Work practices are vital, the flow and handling of information is important, and, perhaps most critical of all, the health and well-being of all staff are essential. Any imbalance or neglect in one area can have a domino effect that spreads to other areas, and this can have a serious, negative impact on many aspects of a workplace in unforeseen ways.
One area that appears isolated, at least on first glance, is a policy for workplace drug testing. In one sense, this is a “yes and no” proposition. For staff members that aren’t using drugs to begin with, this has little impact on work, aside from taking a few minutes out of the day during testing periods to provide a test sample. But for people that are using drugs, this has dramatic, necessary impact, and in some ways can prevent a problem employee from even occurring in the first place.
How to Implement a Drug Testing Policy
One of the chief concerns that many have about implementing drug testing, if they’re unfamiliar with it, is an issue of interrupting operations. Some see the implementation of a system as invasive of someone’s privacy at best, and actually holding up workflow at worst. Modern drug and alcohol testing has come a long way from pioneering, time intensive methods with elaborate sample collection procedures. Today, aside from having the necessary materials on hand for sample collection during a testing period, there is little in the way of workflow disruption.
Workplace drug testing can occur in three ways. The first and most common is a urine sample. Most people are familiar with this as urine samples are usually collected at some point in a person’s life, usually for medical examination purposes. A urine sample only adds a few extra minutes to a person’s day at work, and does not have to be organized so that everyone must donate a sample in the same time frame.
Hair samples can also be collected and tested for drug use. This form of testing is more recent, but is rising in popularity. 50-70 strands of hair, at about 1.5” in length, are all that are needed in order to conduct this type of drug test. For people that are bald, or closely shave their head, any body hair is sufficient, it doesn’t need to come from the head. Hair follicle drug testing detects drugs going back about 90 days.
Oral fluid or saliva drug testing is becoming more popular. An oral fluid specimen is collected and sent to the laboratory for initial screening and if non-negative then confirmation testing. Many employers are collecting the oral fluid samples without the use of a traditional collection site. Oral fluid testing detects very recent drug use but not long term use. Drugs will not be detected after about three days with oral fluid testing.