Last updated: January 17, 2022
Do you want to ensure a safe and drug-free workplace for your business throughout the Los Altos, CA area? A drug testing program can help you do just that so that you can improve workplace safety, increase productivity, and you may even receive a discount on your workers’ comp insurance. Several states currently offer the incentive, and the discounts ranges from four up to ten percent.
We offer numerous drug testing services for your business around Los Altos that enable you to screen out new employees who have a substance abuse issue, discourage existing employees from using drugs, and identify those who do. All while ensuring compliance with DOT regulations if you’re regulated, or just freeing you up to focus on other parts of your business if you’re not. And we can perform drug testing at your location or ours, 24/7/365.
Unlike old-fashioned laboratories, we are available 24/7—and we travel to your business to minimize downtime. When we’re managing your entire drug-free workplace program, you get all of the benefits without dealing with the administrative details. With us in charge, you can be sure your workplace drug testing gets done on time, every time, no matter where your employees are located or when you need them tested.
You don’t need to interrupt your night shift’s sleep cycle to go to a drug testing lab during normal business hours. Never again will you have to pull workers off-site for drug testing at a lab leaving the 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 your business is regulated by the DOT, you are required to adhere to particular laws on employee drug testing. Many employers of non-DOT-regulated companies follow those laws when creating their own drug free workplace program.
USAMDT offers Los Altos businesses a program that tailors your drug testing policies to meet your specific needs. We’ll also write and then implement your policy, and provide employee education and staff training at your request.
There are many reasons to conduct workplace drug testing, such as:
Pre-employment drug testing
The Department of Transportation requires an employee to have a negative drug test result on file before a driver is allowed to get behind the wheel. Many employers for the general workforce require a pre-employment drug test before a new employee begins work as well.
Random drug testing
Most people associate random drug testing with DOT compliance, however, it’s used in other industries too. The department requires all safety-sensitive staff to have their names added to a random pool. The pool is used to randomly produce 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 have been drug tested before they use a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). Additionally, drivers are entered into the random test pool and may be called up for drug testing regularly throughout the year. Post-accident, probationary, reasonable suspicion, and return to duty testing are also required.
The DOT requires a urine test and tests for the following drugs:
- Amphetamines and methamphetamines
- Opiates including synthetic opiates
Reasonable suspicion drug testing
Train your management staff to identify the signs of drug abuse. If they believe someone is impaired, they should know the company policy and have everything documented before approaching that employee. The suspected employee must then report for drug-testing immediately.
Post-accident drug testing
If there is an accident on-site, drug testing all employees involved can help identify who is responsible and protect 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 had a positive drug test result. The SAP signs them off as able to return to work once the safety-sensitive employee has a negative drug test result.
Drug testing methods
We can administer drug tests throughout Los Altos with several different methods, depending on your situation. Each method has pros and cons, and you should speak with one of our specialists if you need help deciding which is best for your situation.
All test samples undergo 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 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 urine drug test. (This is currently the only method approved for DOT drug testing.) Urinalysis is quick, simple, and cost-effective, but it does come with a few drawbacks.
You need to secure a private bathroom, and you need to disable the sink and toilet, and pour a bluing agent in the water in the toilet bowl. Privacy concerns could also be an issue because a test must be performed by a collector of the same gender.
In addition, the privacy factor also provides an opportunity to attempt to cheat the test by adding adulterants, 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 drug users to succeed.
This testing method can identify drugs from about a half-hour after use up to several weeks after the last use. Chronic marijuana use is an exception to the rule. Addicts can test positive for up to 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, yet is still every bit accurate as a urinalysis. It’s also just as fast, simple, and inexpensive. It provides the smallest window of detection though. Still, it drug-testing most drugs within just a few minutes of use. It only detects drugs for a period of up to 72 hours prior to the test.
The largest advantage of mouth swab drug testing is that it can be performed literally anywhere—even in plain view of staff. The test only requires putting a mouth swab between the lower cheek and gum. The employee holds it in place until it becomes saturated. The entire process usually takes less than. 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 few 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 test as an alternative drug testing method for all federally mandated employers as of January 1, 2020.
At this time, it’s uncertain whether or not the DOT will incorporate the test into its regulations.
The less common hair follicle drug test offers the same ease 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 employers. In fact, the DOT officially requested that the hair test replace the urine drug test. The request is passing through the chain-of-command and many expect to hear the final decision anytime now.
This test requires the administrator to cut a small (less than 1” wide) amount of hair, ideally from near the base of the scalp, and secure it in a zipper-lock plastic bag. While this testing method is simple and convenient, some employees may have an issue with having their hair cut.
Body hair can be collected 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 can detect drug use for about 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.