Last updated: June 20, 2022
Looking to enforce a safe and drug-free workplace throughout Oceano? 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’ compensation insurance. Many states currently offer the incentive, and the savings range from four up to ten percent.
USAMDT offers numerous drug screening services around the Oceano, CA area that enable you to screen out new employees who use drugs, discourage current staff 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 areas of your business if you’re not. And we can perform testing at your location or ours, 24/7/365.
Unlike old-fashioned drug testing laboratories, USAMDT is here 24/7—and we travel to your location to minimize downtime. When we’re managing your entire drug testing program, you receive all of the advantages without dealing with the administrative details. With us in charge, you can be sure your workplace drug testing is done on time, every time, no matter where your staff 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 laboratory during regular business hours. Now you won’t need to send employees off-site for drug testing at a laboratory leaving your crew a man short. We roll up on-site—no matter where it is—totally prepared to professionally administer the test.
When should you perform drug testing
If your business is regulated by the Department of Transportation, you are required to adhere to specific guidelines on employee drug testing. Many employers of the general workforce follow these regulations when developing their own drug free workplace program.
USAMDT offers Oceano employers a program that customizes your drug testing policies for your specific 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 to perform workplace drug testing, including:
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 of the general workforce require a pre-employment drug test before a new hire can begin work as well.
Random drug testing
Most people associate random drug testing with Department of Transportation regulations, however, it’s common in other industries too. The department requires all safety-sensitive employees to have their names added to a random pool. This 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 members of a safety-sensitive workforce have been 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 regularly throughout the year. Post-accident, probationary, reasonable suspicion, and return to duty testing are also required.
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 staff must be trained to spot substance abuse. If they suspect someone is impaired, they should know the company policy and document everything before approaching that employee. The suspected employee must then report for drug-testing immediately.
Post-accident drug testing
If there is a workplace accident, drug testing all staff involved can help identify who is at fault and defend you from legal liability.
Return to duty drug testing
A registered 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 that safety-sensitive employee has a negative drug test result.
Drug testing methods
We can administer drug tests throughout Oceano utilizing a variety of 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 specimens 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 confirmation testing. The gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) test confirms the positive result by identifying the drug and the level contained in the specimen.
The industry standard is still a urinalysis. (This is currently the only method the DOT will accept.) Urinalysis is fast, easy, and cost-effective, but it does come with a few drawbacks.
You need access to a private bathroom, and you must disable both 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 an administrator 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 drug users to succeed.
This testing method identifies drug use from about a half-hour of ingestion up to several weeks after discontinuing use. Chronic marijuana use is an exception to the rule. Addicts 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, but is still every bit accurate as a urinalysis. Additionally, it’s just as fast, easy, and inexpensive. It offers the shortest window of detection though. Still, it identifies most drugs within minutes of use. It only detects drug use for a period of up to 72 hours prior to the test.
The most powerful advantage of a mouth swab drug test is that it can be performed literally anywhere—even in plain sight of other employees. 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 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 detect 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 unclear 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 offers a 90-day detection window overrides the added 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 decision soon.
This test requires the collector to clip a small (less than 1” wide) section of hair, ideally from near the base of the scalp, and secure it in a zipper-lock plastic baggie. While this testing method is simple and convenient, some employees may have a problem with having their hair cut.
Body hair can be collected instead and is tested by volume instead of length. Administrators collect enough hair to equal the size of a cotton ball about an inch in diameter.
Body hair offers a longer detection window than head hair. Hair collected from an employee’s head will detect drug use for about 90-days, while hair collected from the body will detect drug use for about a year.
The hair test can’t detect current impairment or very recent drug use.