Last updated: November 27, 2023
Employee drug testing offers employers many benefits that include lower absenteeism and increased productivity. However, neither of those is the number one reason that employers drug test. The main reason that employers choose to operate a drug-free workplace is for safety’s sake.
Someone who is using drugs while at work has likely already formed an addiction. As the addiction grows stronger, it eventually affects every area of their lives—which, of course, includes their job. Someone who is high on the job is far more likely to be involved in an accident and that puts anyone working nearby in harm’s way as well. Employee drug testing makes that risk less likely to become reality.
An honest day’s work
The majority of employees don’t use drugs at all. They should never have to worry about a co-worker’s drug problem affecting them in a negative way.
Drinking responsibly is a socially acceptable pastime, but everyone knows that if you drink on the job, you’re in the wrong. Why? Because drinking affects motor skills and muddles the mind—so does drug use. However, if someone suffers from alcoholism or drug addiction, they justify, rationalize… and, ultimately, succumb to the desire.
Employees who don’t use drugs shouldn’t be subjected to the risk of being involved in a serious—and sometimes life-threatening—accident due to the fact that someone is high. Companies that provide a drug-free workplace take a strong stance against drug use. It’s an excellent deterrent because once word gets out that there’s a test, most people who use drugs won’t even bother to apply. It’s an effective tool used to weed out any bad seeds as well—especially if you utilize random drug testing.
It doesn’t take long to come up with numerous reasons why drugs negatively affect the workplace. Worse, substance abusers don’t even have to be under the influence of drugs at work to have negative impacts.
- They’re ten times more likely to be absent from work which creates a burden for others who must pick up the slack.
- Drug abusers are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in workplace accidents—and 5 times more likely to injure themselves or others in the process.
- Drug abuse in the workplace has a negative impact on your culture which affects everyone’s demeanor to some degree. Someone who isn’t happy at work is more likely to withdraw from the atmosphere which could lead to unintended mistakes that affect others.
A drug-free workplace naturally creates a more positive work culture because your employees know they work for someone who actually cares about their well-being. It creates an overall sense of satisfaction and that, in turn, has a positive impact on productivity! Take another positive step and let your employees know that you value their input. Encourage them to come to you or your management team to speak freely if they have concerns about someone’s job performance—that definitely applies if they suspect drug use!
Educating your employees about the dangers of addiction can positively affect their entire lives because arming them with education allows them to make informed decisions. It could be the catalyst that causes them to decide to live their lives drug and alcohol-free. It can also be the reason that someone suffering from addiction makes the decision to seek help.
Absenteeism drops and that has a positive effect on the entire company because everyone is pulling their weight.
Signs of drug use
It can be difficult to identify substance abuse in the workplace, but there are some signals that can alert you to the problem. Management personnel should be trained to recognize the signs and symptoms.
Here are some things to look for:
- Frequent and often unexplained absences
- Involvement in accidents either on or off the job
- Reduced productivity
- Lacking personal hygiene
- Overreaction to real or imagined criticism
- Physical signs can include:
- dilated pupils
- slurred speech
- an unsteady walk
- overall lack of coordination
- bloodshot or glassy eyes
If someone is suspected of drug use and you have a reasonable suspicion policy in place, management personnel should document the suspicion and record any signs and symptoms before approaching the employee. The employee should be accompanied to a nearby drug testing facility or to the on-site testing area if it’s available. We’ll note that using an on-site provider puts an entirely new spin on the phrase, “drug testing near me!” It saves your employees the time of trekking back and forth to the test site and, of course, there’s likely to be a waiting period while there.
Safe and secure
When your employees know that you care, it nurtures a sense of security. They feel good in their environment. They’re happier to come to work and are far more likely to give it their all while on the clock. It’s worth mentioning again that affects every aspect of your company in a positive manner.
Employers who operate a drug-free workplace are taking a stand for those that they employ—even employees who test positive for drugs because they’re offered a chance to receive help. Thereby, employee drug testing benefits everyone in your company to one degree or another. For some, it can actually be life-saving.
Providing your employees with a safe space to do their jobs should be your number one priority after all. They are the reason that you can achieve—and surpass—your goals! Moreover, providing information regarding the dangers of drug use and addiction, as well as promoting rehabilitation and lifestyle changes, gives them the tools they need to make informed decisions if ever they consider using drugs—or stopping if they do.
If you don’t already participate in a drug-free workplace program, you should consider it. Some states even offer lower rates on workers’ compensation insurance. Saving money on insurance costs is always a plus, right?
As a business owner, you’ll reap other benefits as well, including:
- Lower rates of absenteeism and tardiness
- Fewer workplace accidents
- Increased productivity