Last updated: June 5, 2023
In addition to pre-employment drug tests performed on new employees during recruitment, many companies also require employees agree to random drug testing exercises as and when required. This is necessary for building a drug-free workplace consequently ensuring workplace safety. For instance, a person operating machinery should not be high on drugs as he puts his co-workers at risk. The most efficient way to perform a drug test is through on-site testing.
What is on-site drug testing?
Whenever a workplace accident happens, an immediate on-site drug test is standard protocol. This helps to identify the cause of the accident as well as aid in post-accident trials to show who is liable. Many employers also perform random drug tests to discourage drug use, and these can also be conducted on-site.
The benefit of on-site drug testing is that it brings the laboratory right to the workplace, saving time for employers and increasing productivity.
Though the price for the on-site drug test itself might be slightly higher, the benefits far outweigh the cost difference. Your business is not interrupted due to employees (and in the case of post-accident or reasonable suspicion, supervisors) taking time off to go to a testing facility. Productivity is not interrupted. Costs that might have been incurred from their traveling to and from the lab are saved as well. On-site test results are delivered on the very day which is ultimately very convenient.
This type of drug testing has an advantage as it is unannounced and therefore more accurate. Employees on whom the employer has reasonable suspicion have little time to tamper with the results. On-site drug testing allows for multiple tests to be carried out on a single day, making the entire process fast, efficient, and pain-free for employers and employees alike.
There are two types of on-site drug testing:
- A one-step employee kit that provides rapid results. A confirmation is needed from the lab in the event of a false read.
- The other involves the collection of samples by a trained expert who is trained on Chain of Custody rules and procedures so that the on-site drug test results are admissible in a court of law.
The drugs that are tested for include opiates, cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine, marijuana, among others that are a major concern to employers.
Off-site drug testing
Employees have to leave the job site and travel to a designated drug test collection center. The specimen is then sent to a drug screening lab for analysis. It offers the employee more dignity and privacy. This type of drug testing, however, offers loopholes for manipulation of results. Productivity is interrupted as employees have to leave their jobs to go for the drug test.
Why is it important for employers to perform drug tests?
It is the responsibility of the employer to provide a safe working environment for the employees. Should accidents occur due to drug abuse or use, the employer could face legal liability. Through a drug test, employees who pose a risk to fellow colleagues can be identified and dealt with accordingly. Basically, companies that have a consistent drug testing regimen report fewer accident occurrences. A safe working environment enhances productivity, as absenteeism, tardiness, and behavior associated with drug use are reduced.
Performing drug tests can help employees dealing with drug-related problems and addictions, especially if the company has such a provision. Through this, the employees could even get into rehabilitation programs at the company’s expense. This is ideal where the individual possesses a specific skill, or where it would cost more to hire and train a new worker. There are, however, companies that fire an employee found to be using drugs.
Drug testing significantly reduces staff turnover. Research shows that employees who abuse drugs are prone to changing jobs every once in a while. This translates into higher costs as employers have to spend more on recruitment and training exercises.
Drug tests result in improved productivity, fewer accidents and consequently lower insurance claims and compensations, and lower absenteeism. More benefits are, however, bound to be realized through the use of on-site drug tests as costs are further lowered due to convenience. They also provide the highest accuracy with minimal chances of alteration.