Last updated: January 17, 2022
Looking to create a safe and drug-free workplace for your business around the Altona, CO area? Drug testing can help you do exactly that so that you can improve workplace safety, increase productivity, and you may even get a discount on your workers’ compensation insurance. Several states offer the incentive, and the discounts could range from four up to ten percent.
USAMDT provides numerous drug testing services for your business in the Altona, CO area that help 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 parts of your business if you’re not. And we can conduct drug testing at your location or ours, 24/7/365.
Unlike traditional laboratories, we’re available 24/7—and we travel to you to minimize downtime. When we’re managing your entire drug-free workplace program, you get all of the advantages without dealing with the administrative details. With us in charge, you can be sure your employee drug testing is performed 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 testing laboratory during normal 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 a drug test
If you are regulated by the DOT, you must follow particular regulations on employee drug testing. Many employers of the general workforce use these same laws when creating their own drug testing policies and procedures.
USAMDT offers Altona employers a program that customizes 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 many reasons for 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 on the road. Many employers for the general workforce require a pre-employment drug test before a new employee can begin work as well.
Random drug testing
Most people associate random drug testing with Department of Transportation compliance, however, it’s also common in other industries too. The department requires all members of a safety-sensitive workforce 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 Department of Transportation requires that all members of a safety-sensitive workforce are drug tested before they use a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). Additionally, drivers are placed into the random test pool and may be called up for drug testing at various intervals throughout the year. Post-accident, probationary, reasonable suspicion, and return to duty testing are also mandatory.
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 recognize the signs of substance use. If they believe an employee 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 an accident on-site, drug testing all staff involved can help identify who is responsible and protect 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 the safety-sensitive employee has a negative drug test result.
Drug testing methods
We can administer drug tests throughout Altona using several different methods, depending on your circumstances. Each method has pros and cons, and you should talk with one of our specialists if you need advice on deciding which is best for you.
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 registering a positive result go 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 urine drug test. (This is currently the only testing method the DOT will accept.) Urinalysis is quick, easy, and inexpensive, but it does come with a few drawbacks.
You need to secure a private restroom, 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 a challenge because a test must be conducted by an administrator of the same sex.
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 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 drugs from about a half-hour of ingestion up to a few weeks after the last use. Chronic marijuana use is an exception to the rule. Habitual users 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 relatively newer, yet is still every bit accurate as urine drug testing. It’s also just as fast, easy, and cost-effective. It offers the smallest detection window though. Still, it drug-testing most drugs within just a few minutes of use. It only identifies drug use for a period of up to 72 hours prior to the test.
The biggest advantage of a mouth swab drug test is that it can be conducted literally anywhere—even in plain view 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 becomes saturated. The 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 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 testing method as an alternate 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 approve this method 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 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 working through the chain-of-command and many expect to hear the final word anytime now.
This test requires the administrator 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 used 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 provides 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 up to a year.
The hair test can’t detect current impairment or very recent drug use.