Screening for the presence of Alcohol and other Drugs (AOD) is increasingly important in the workplace as the impact of improper alcohol and other recreational drug use can present a serious risk to health, safety and workplace productivity.
Implementing a robust screening program supported by a strong company drug and alcohol policy and workplace education program can add to a positive health, safe and productive workplace culture.
As a statutory requirement in many industries, effective drug and alcohol screening improves workplace safety as the use of alcohol and recreational drugs can present a hazard in the workplace.
Recently, as part of the application process, job applicants may be required to be screened for drug and alcohol use. Depending on state law and company policy, employers may do this prior to making a job offer. Employees may be tested for drugs or alcohol in the workplace, where permitted by state law.
There are a variety of employment-related drug and alcohol tests used by employers. The types of drug test that show the presence of drugs or alcohol include urine drug tests, blood drug tests, breath alcohol tests, saliva drug screens, and sweat drug screens.
There are federal and state laws which provide guidelines on the policies employers can set regarding substance abuse in the workplace. Employers can prohibit the use of drugs and alcohol, test for drug use, and fire employees who are engaging in illegal drug abuse. However, employees with substance abuse issues are protected by federal and state laws regulating discrimination and disabilities.
A urine drug test is the most commonly used test when job applicants or employees are screened for illegal drugs or alcohol use. Urinalysis shows the presence of drug residues that remain in the body after the effects of the drug have worn off. Urine tests may be required as part of pre-employment screening or may be conducted randomly by employers, especially for employees in certain occupation.
A number of workplace studies measuring the accident rates of companies before and after implementing drug testing indicate that drug screening is indeed an important safety factor. Not only do employees want a safe working environment, they also want a workplace that is productive, where every employee is performing his or her job safely and competently. That is, it further ensures the hiring of a more effective work force.
In addition to accident rates falling, absenteeism, tardiness, employee theft and behavioural problems typically decrease with the implementation and maintenance of drug screening. As a matter of fact, Businesses that do not drug test employees can attract candidates who cannot obtain employment elsewhere because of substance abuse.