Advantages and Disadvantages of Workplace Drug Testing


The practice of workplace drug testing has existed for several years now, but for many businesses, it remains a controversial issue.

It is crucially important for the employer whether his staff members abuse drugs. On the other hand, employees often claim that workplace drug testing is a violation of privacy rights. From the employer’s point of view, here are the most important pros and cons of drug testing in the workplace.

Advantages of workplace drug testing

It promotes a safer working environment

Perhaps, the single biggest advantage of workplace drug testing is the fact that promotes workplace safety and health. After all, it cannot be denied that employees who use or abuse drugs pose a safety risk in the workplace.

architecture-blur-bright-1329061This is especially important for safety-sensitive jobs that involve handling hazardous chemicals, driving vehicles, or operating heavy machinery for the company. If any of employees perform these tasks while impaired by their drug of choice, the risks of a workplace accident are significantly increased.

However, regardless of the industry, any workplace accident can lead to significant losses, and even deaths. When that happens, it is going to expose your company to a whole array of liabilities and public relations issues.

Reduce potential legal liability

When accidents happen in workplace, employers potentially face legal liability. Especially if the accident occurred due to the employer’s failure to maintain a safe working environment. Without drug testing at work, it is impossible for the employer to identify workers who pose a risk to other staff members in the workplace with their drug use or abuse.

So, a workplace drug testing program represents an employer’s effort to keep the environment at work safe for everyone. Drug testing in the workplace can help minimize accidents, which in turn reduces the potential legal liability of employers themselves.

Workplace drug testing helps employees with drug problems

aerial-aerial-view-application-935869While it is true that there are companies that immediately fire employees who fail the drug test, there are many employees who actually give such employees a second chance. Companies that established drug and alcohol testing policies can greatly benefit those workers with drug problems.

Many employers help workers who test positively for drugs help them get into recovery or rehabilitation treatments at their expense. This way, employees get a chance to get clean and be free from drug abuse, while the employers can still keep the experienced worker after completing the program without the hassle of having to hire or train a new employee for the job.

Not as invasive as many believe it to be

Despite the common belief, workplace drug testing does not usually involve any form of blood sampling. For instance, oral saliva swabs or urine samples are what most companies use. There are quick to administer and provide reliable results in a very timely fashion. As with all types of drug tests, any positive drug testing results must be verified for accuracy by an accredited testing laboratory.

Increased safety leads to better productivity

Drug testing results in a reduced accident, which is a pretty good indicator that a workplace has indeed a safe working environment. Employees can be more motivated and productive, knowing that their employers are doing everything they can to keep everyone safe while at work.

Companies that conduct workplace drug testing have an overall better job performance as well as better employee morale. Accident rates drop when there is a drug testing program in place. The same trend can be observed for absenteeism, tardiness, employee theft, and behavioral problems.

Disadvantages of workplace drug testing

Unfair dismissal suits

biology-blur-blurred-background-954585Workplace drug testing is also often at the center of unfair dismissal suits. For example, employees who test positive for illegal substances and are hence laid off, often file suit, saying they have been wrongfully terminated. Even if the plaintiff loses the case, the company still stands to lose money. After all, any kinds of lawsuits are costly and take away time and focus from the staff involved in the case. Solid, well-communicated drug policy is essential to prevent a lot of these nuisances.

Workplace drug testing is an additional expense

The most obvious disadvantage for employers to run drug testing is the cost of such a program. Drug testing companies are not cheap, after all, depending on the drug test method used, an employer may spend between $28 to $40 per person.

There also can be a significant time delay between initial positive test results and the confirmation test that needs to be done by a certified lab. During this time, your employee cannot work.  This is one of the reasons you want to engage a drug testing company that has a network of labs. For example, you can consider using Confirm BioSciences, which is a leading drug-free workplace and employee wellness testing provider in the US serving thousands of small and medium-sized businesses. So this way, they can confirm your positive test results much more quickly.

Accusations of violation of privacy

It is also important to consider that there is a general sense of opposition to workplace drug testing, and much of that opposition revolves around the idea that the drug testing violates the employee’s right to privacy, and they can cite specific state laws that guarantee that right. When a company insist on workplace drug testing, it can cause resentment among the employees, which can hence reduce productivity and result in lesser revenue for the company.

Conclusion – workplace drug testing is essential – no matter of the industry

According to the drug-free workplace and employee wellness testing provider, Confirm BioSciences, the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 mandates federal contractors and all grantees to provide a drug-free workplace in order to receive a grant or contract from any federal agency. They said Act also requires heavily regulated industries such as military contracting, nuclear energy, and transportation that all its employees undergo drug testing.

In summary, a workplace drug testing regime remains essential for companies. this is especially important in today’s world of easily obtained drugs and alcohol.

If you would like further information, please contact Confirm BioSciences a completely confidential discussion.



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