Last updated: January 17, 2022
Looking to create a safe and drug-free workplace in Lakehead? A drug testing program can help you accomplish exactly that so that you can boost workplace safety, increase productivity, and you may even receive a discount on your workers’ comp insurance. Thirteen states offer the incentive, and the discounts ranges from four up to ten percent.
We provide a wide range of drug testing services for your business throughout Lakehead that help you to screen out new employees who use drugs, discourage existing employees from using drugs, and identify those who do. All while ensuring DOT compliance if you’re regulated, or just freeing you up to focus on other areas of your business if you’re not. And we can perform screening at your location or ours, 24/7/365.
As opposed to old-fashioned facilities, USAMDT is here 24/7—and we come to your workplace to minimize downtime. When we’re managing your entire drug-free workplace program, you enjoy all of the benefits without dealing with the administrative details. With us in charge, you can be sure your employee drug testing is conducted on time, every time, no matter where your employees are located or when you need them tested.
No more interrupting the employee’s sleep cycle to visit a drug testing facility during daytime business hours. Now you won’t need to send employees off-site for drug testing at a lab leaving your crew a man short. We roll up on-site—no matter where it is—totally prepared to professionally administer the test.
When to perform drug testing
If you are regulated by the Department of Transportation, you must follow specific regulations in regard to workplace drug testing. Many employers of the general workforce follow these guidelines when creating their own drug free workplace program.
USAMDT offers Lakehead businesses a program that tailors your drug testing policies for your unique needs. We’ll also write and then implement your policy, and provide employee education and staff training at your request.
There are a number of reasons for workplace drug testing, such as:
Pre-employment drug testing
The Department of Transportation requires that a negative drug test result is on file before a driver is allowed to get behind the wheel. Many employers for the general workforce require pre-employment drug testing before a new hire can begin work as well.
Random drug testing
Most people associate random drug testing with DOT compliance, however, it’s also common in other industries too. The department requires all safety-sensitive employees to have their names added to a random pool. The pool is used to randomly create a list of employees who are instructed to report for a drug test immediately.
DOT drug testing
The DOT requires that all safety-sensitive employees are drug tested before they use a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). In addition, drivers are entered into the random test pool and may be called up for drug testing periodically throughout the year. Post-accident, probationary, reasonable suspicion, and return to duty testing are also mandatory.
The DOT requires a urine test and looks for the following drugs:
- Amphetamines and methamphetamines
- Opiates including synthetic opiates
Reasonable suspicion drug testing
Your management personnel must be trained to spot substance impairment. If they suspect someone is impaired, they should know the company policy and have everything documented before approaching the employee. The suspected employee must then report for drug-testing immediately.
Post-accident drug testing
If there is a workplace accident, drug testing all employees involved can help determine where responsibility lies and defend you from legal liability.
Return to duty drug testing
A certified SAP (Substance Abuse Professional) works with the driver, or other safety-sensitive employees, who have tested positive for drugs. The SAP signs them off as able to return to work after the safety-sensitive employee has a negative drug test result.
Drug testing methods
We can administer drug tests throughout Lakehead using several different methods, depending on your circumstances. Each method has pros and cons, and you should speak to one of our specialists if you need help deciding which is best for you.
All test samples go through an initial screening. The immunoassay (IA) test determines a positive or negative result. Most drug tests are negative and this cost-efficient test saves employers money because no further testing is needed.
Tests returning a positive result are sent on for further confirmation testing. The gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) test confirms the positive result by identifying the drug and the level contained in the sample.
The industry standard is the urinalysis. (This is currently the only method the DOT will accept.) Urinalysis is fast, simple, and inexpensive, but it does come with a few drawbacks.
You need to secure a private restroom, and you have to disable the sink and toilet, and place a bluing agent in the water in the toilet bowl. Privacy concerns may also present an issue because a test must be performed by a collector of the same gender.
Additionally, the privacy factor also provides an opportunity to attempt to cheat the test by adulterating the specimen, which creates a negative dillute or positive dillute drug test result, or even substituting the specimen entirely. However, technological advances in both testing procedures and lab equipment make it increasingly difficult for dishonest employees to succeed.
This testing method can identify drug use from about a half-hour of ingestion up to a few weeks after discontinuing use. Chronic marijuana use is an exception to the rule. Habitual users can test positive for over thirty days. You can learn more here: How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your System?
Employers receive test results in a few days.
Mouth swab / oral fluid
This method of drug testing is somewhat newer than other methods, but is still every bit accurate as urine drug testing. It’s also just as quick, easy, and cost-effective. It provides the smallest window of detection though. Still, it identifies most drugs within minutes of use. It only identifies drugs for a period of up to 72 hours prior to the test.
The biggest advantage of mouth swab drug testing is that it can be performed literally anywhere—even in plain sight of staff. The test only requires putting a mouth swab between the lower cheek and gum. The employee holds it in place until it is saturated. The entire process rarely takes more than 5 minutes. Despite the claims we hear many drug users make, the only way to pass a mouth swab drug test is to not use drugs.
Results are received in just a couple of days.
Because it can identify recent drug use, it’s becoming a popular option for random drug testing. In fact, the HHS (The Health and Human Services Administration) approved the use of this testing method as an alternate drug testing method for all federally mandated employers as of January 1, 2020.
At this time, it’s unclear whether or not the DOT will incorporate the test into its regulations.
The less common hair follicle drug test offers the same simplicity as mouth swab testing, however, it’s more expensive.
The fact that it provides a 90-day period of detection overrides the additional cost in the eyes of more and more business owners. In fact, the DOT officially requested that the hair test replace the urinalysis. The request is passing through the chain-of-command and many expect to hear the final word anytime now.
This test requires the collector to cut a small (less than 1” wide) section of hair, preferably from near the base of the scalp, and secure it in a zipper-lock plastic bag. While this testing method is easy and convenient, some staff may have an issue with having their hair cut.
Body hair can be taken instead and is tested by volume rather than length. Administrators collect enough hair to equal the size of a cotton ball about an inch in diameter.
Body hair provides a longer detection window compared to head hair. Hair collected from an employee’s head will detect drug use for up to 90-days, while hair collected from the body will detect drug use for up to a year.
The hair test can’t detect current impairment or very recent drug use.