Workplace Drug Testing – Getting It Right For Your Business

By the year 2015/16, one in twelve adults in England and Wales had already taken an illicit drug in the year before, equating to about 2.7 million people, and in 2014, 10 percent of pupils in schools had taken drugs in the last year, and 6% the month before the survey was conducted..

With numbers like this, it is no wonder how big a problem drug abuse and misuse has become in the United Kingdom- not only for the friends and families of the abusers in question, but for their employers too – as intoxicated employees have proven to be only liabilities to any reasonable workforce.


Why Implement Drug Tests?

As an employer you might find yourself asking this, especially when considering the implementation of a workplace drug testing policy – as it adds an extra monetary drain on the company finances, and such spending has to be justified.

The obvious benefit of a drug testing policy on existing employees is to deter their continued use of alcohol and drugs- ensuring that they maintain a high level of productivity during working hours. On new employees, it ensures that you prevent your business from hiring an employee with a budding drug problem.

Such a policy also goes a long way to reassure customers on your business competency, and reinforces their confidence in the quality of service which your business delivers. This also boosts the morale of other employees as it ensures that you are creating a safe working environment for the general workforce.


Implementing Drug Tests

As an employer, it is important to understand the guidelines- especially when considering the implementation of a drug testing policy on existing employees in your workplace. This is so because the rights of the employees must be taken into full consideration before any tangible progress can be made towards its implementation.

As such, it is important that you thoroughly review the contract between your business and the employee, ensuring that the terms in the contract give you the right to conduct drug tests on your employees. This is important as without the express agreement of an employee, it is illegal for a company to conduct mandatory drug tests on its workforce.


Types Of Tests

There are five basic methods in which drug tests may be carried out, each of which requiring a different kind of sample from the tested employee. There are:

  • Urine tests
  • Blood tests
  • Saliva tests
  • Hair tests
  • Sweat tests

Urine tests are the least expensive types of drug testing and are also non-intrusive. They detect drug use from up to a week and can be done by untrained personnel.  Blood tests are the most expensive, the most intrusive, but are also the most accurate test for substance abuse. Saliva tests are more expensive than urine tests. However, they require lab processing to be accurate. Hair tests are more expensive than almost all the other tests but are also extremely accurate and can detect usage for up to thirty days after use. Sweat tests are a little inaccurate. However, the method of collection is a little inefficient as it involves the use of a sweat patch which must be on for a certain period of time.

Drug use is steadily increasing with each passing day. Also, many businesses have run into problems due to the negligence of intoxicated employees. All businesses must look out for its best interests, and potential employees must ensure that they present themselves as suitable candidates for whatever position they may be aspiring to, in all mind, body, and spirit – while remaining drug free.


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