Last updated: June 27, 2022
Looking to ensure a safe and drug-free workplace for your business throughout Alford? A drug testing program can help you do exactly that so that you can boost workplace safety, increase productivity, and you may even get a discount on your workers’ compensation insurance. Many states currently offer the incentive, and the discounts could range from four up to ten percent.
USAMDT offers numerous drug testing services throughout Alford that enable you to screen out new employees with a substance abuse issue, discourage current staff from using drugs, and identify those who do. All while ensuring DOT compliance if you’re regulated, or just freeing you up to focus on other aspects of your company if you’re not. And we can conduct screening at your location or ours, 24/7/365.
Unlike old-fashioned facilities, USAMDT is available 24/7—and we travel to you to minimize downtime. When we’re managing your entire drug testing program, you enjoy all of the benefits without dealing with the administrative details. With us in charge, you can be sure your employee drug testing is conducted on time, every time, no matter where your team are or when you need them tested.
No more interrupting the employee’s sleep cycle to go to a testing facility during normal business hours. Now you won’t need to send staff off-site for a drug test at a lab leaving the crew short staffed. We show up on-site—no matter where it is—totally prepared to professionally administer the test.
When should you conduct drug testing
If you are regulated by the Department of Transportation, you are required to follow specific laws on employee drug testing. Many employers for non-DOT-regulated companies mimic those same guidelines when developing their own drug free workplace program.
USAMDT offers Alford businesses a program that customizes your drug testing policies for your specific needs. We’ll also develop 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 on the road. Many employers for non-DOT-regulated companies 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 DOT compliance, however, it’s also common in other industries too. The department requires all safety-sensitive staff 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 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 periodically 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 recognize the signs of drug abuse. If they suspect someone is under the influence, they should know the company policy and document everything before approaching that employee. The suspected employee must then report for a drug test immediately.
Post-accident drug testing
If there is an accident at work, 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 have tested positive for drugs. The SAP signs them off as able to return to work once that safety-sensitive employee has a negative drug test result.
Drug testing methods
We can conduct drug tests throughout Alford utilizing a variety of different methods, depending on your circumstances. 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 needs.
All test specimens go through an initial screening. The immunoassay (IA) test determines a positive or negative result. The majority of drug tests are negative and this cost-efficient test saves employers money because no further testing is needed.
Tests registering a positive result are sent on for further 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 the urinalysis. (This is currently the only testing 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 restroom, and you have to disable the sink and toilet, and pour a bluing agent in the water in the toilet bowl. Privacy concerns could 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 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 dishonest employees to succeed.
This testing method can identify drugs from about a half-hour after use up to a few 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 provides the smallest detection window though. Still, it identifies 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 largest advantage of mouth swab drug testing is that it can be conducted literally anywhere—even in plain view of other employees. The test only requires placing a mouth swab between the lower cheek and gum. The employee holds it in place until it becomes saturated. The entire 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 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 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 approve this method into its regulations.
The less common hair follicle drug test offers the same convenience as mouth swab testing, however, it’s more expensive.
The fact that it provides 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 urinalysis. The request is working through the chain-of-command and many expect to hear the final decision anytime now.
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 staff 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 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 doesn’t detect current impairment or very recent drug use.