Last updated: October 25, 2021
The dangers of drugs in the workplace is hard to overstate and the best way to detect and deter it is with a drug testing program. One of the most common methods—no, the most common method—is urinalysis.
It’s so well-known as a method that people might not even be aware there are other ways for private businesses to test. It’s simple, non-invasive, and can detect a broad range of drugs, including those most commonly found in the workplace—cocaine, marijuana/synthetic marijuana, methamphetamines, opiates, and barbiturates.
Of course, urinalysis to test for drugs isn’t anything like the medical tests conducted by doctors checking for health problems. Drug screenings have to:
- include proper collection methods.
- have the original screening performed by a certified lab.
- include additional gas chromatography/mass spectrometry confirmation testing, as needed.
- if necessary, undergo a final evaluation/verification by a medical review officer.
What’s the story?
Although slight variations are possible, the testing procedure generally goes like this:
The owners of AB Construction decide to initiate a drug-testing program. Their initial research shows that going with a mobile drug testing company offers them the best value for the most service. After meeting with the company and determining their specific needs and goals for screening, AB Construction’s management decides on urinalysis as the method. The mobile provider designs and implements a legally compliant program tailored specifically for the company, saving the company money and eliminating employee downtime.
At the scheduled time (day or night, because the mobile provider offers testing twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week) the mobile unit arrives at the agreed-upon site. Employees are notified that the testers are on site, and all workers who are present should report to the unit immediately.
The construction foreman reports for testing, and her information is taken, in order to make sure she’s matched to the right sample. The person collecting the information asks her to take off any heavy clothing and display the contents of her pockets and also her purse. Some of her items may need to be locked up at the collection site until after the test, but she can carry some of the items with her.
If one of the items found is an item that might help someone tamper with a specimen, the test is still performed, but under direct observation (specifically when it’s for a DOT test). The collector explains the collecting procedure and the sample is taken.
If the submitted sample is in the right temperature range and looks and smells like urine, the collector transfers it from collection cup to a plastic bottle, which is sealed in the foreman’s presence. She initials the bottle and signs a Custody and Control Form (CCF), takes her copy of the form, and goes right back to work.
The urine will be screened for a predetermined and agreed-upon panel of drugs, with the results going to AB Construction’s designated supervisor.
It makes a difference
Substance abusers on the job radically increase the risks of workplace injuries and fatalities and dramatically increase employee absenteeism, workman’s compensation claims, healthcare costs, and decreases in productivity. Those are just a few of the reasons many employers have turned to drug testing, long proven the best way to keep a company drug free.
Legal issues means the steps to collection, testing, and reporting won’t vary much from place to place. Employers weighing their vendor options should understand that anything that can be done at a traditional lab can be done at a mobile testing unit, with no loss of productivity due to employee travel and the extended wait times common at fixed locations.