A recent article in Business Insurance indicates to us why random drug testing is more important than ever. Truck drivers and other workers in the transportation industry are showing greater signs of drug use, and this is raising safety concerns for business owners. The article highlights that “while some other employers are relaxing drug policies in response to the shifting social and legal landscape on cannabis and a nationwide labor shortage, the transportation industry can’t…because the U.S. Department of Transportation requires companies to test those who drive for a living.”
Unfortunately, positivity rates are rising in other safety sensitive industries as well. This is highly concerning as it puts customers, co-workers and company property at risk. What’s more, post-accident positivity testing is increasing at a greater rate than pre-employment testing. Post-accident tests for marijuana, cocaine and semi-synthetic opiates all included higher positive rates. Essentially, drivers are testing negative in pre-employment drug testing, but testing positive in post-accident testing. This indicates that workers in safety-sensitive positions may abstain from using (or cheat a test) before they start work, then relapse to their usual habits later on.
It is all too easy for workers to avoid testing positive on a pre-employment drug test. The point is not that pre-employment drug tests are ineffective, but they should be combined with other methods. We believe the best way to ensure that drivers and individuals in safety sensitive positions are not under the influence is to have a strong random drug testing program. If workers know that they could be tested at any time during their employment, it acts as a deterrent against these kinds of activities. Otherwise, business owners don’t know their employees are using until an accident has already occurred. The main goal of drug testing is to prevent accidents before they happen. If we aren’t able to accomplish this, it’s time to take a closer look at the testing system. Timely, recurrent random drug testing is the only way to catch those under the influence before something damaging occurs.
We also believe the most effective tool in a random drug testing program is an oral fluid drug test system. Oral fluid is the most effective way to catch recent use of a drug . Unlike other forms of random drug testing, oral tests are passed through a lab and inspected by a Medical Officer if the results are non-negative. This enhanced process makes it much more difficult to cheat drug tests.
You’ve likely spent a lot of time energy expanding your business over the years. Don’t let your reputation suffer by not conducting random drug testing. Once as an accident happens, there’s no taking it back. Establishing a strong testing program not only protects your company, it also saves lives.
James P. Randisi, President of Randisi & Associates, Inc., has since 1999 been helping employers protect their clients, workforce and reputation through implementation of employment screening and drug testing programs. This post does not constitute legal advice. Randisi & Associates, Inc. is not a law firm. Always contact competent employment legal counsel. Mr. Randisi can be contacted by phone at 410.494.0232 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or the website at randisiandassociates.com