Whether your business is health care or education, drug screening can play an important part of a comprehensive background check program — and it’s especially important in fields like medical, human resources, safety and security. In fact, when you want to improve workforce quality and safety, reduce workers’ compensation and health care costs, increase productivity and more at your business, drug screening can often be a huge asset. With that in mind, does your company already utilize drug screening in its HR practices? Are you considering adding drug screening to your business processes but unsure where to start? Below, consider the step-by-step method for implementing an effective, efficient drug-screening system in your organization:
1. Choose a Reliable Testing Facility. According to Siemens, “Not all laboratories are set up to perform drugs-of-abuse testing in a way that will stand up to legal challenge.” To make sure you find a reputable, trustworthy lab, look for one with SAMHSA certification, special handling procedures for patient specimens, reliable results-reporting services and strong quality-control procedures in place.
2. Establish a Clear Written Policy. Drug testing starts with a clear, consistent policy. This contract between employer and employee is a way to outline all the specifics of being committed to a drug-free workplace, when and why testing may be performed, what happens when someone tests positive, etc. By placing everything in clear documentation, it prevents misunderstandings and protects the company. There are federal and state regulations in place that all government agencies already have to comply with and that private companies would be wise to follow. This is because, according to the United States Department of Labor, “while private employers are not required to follow these guidelines, doing so can help them stay on safe legal ground.” Getting the policy reviewed by a competent attorney is another good safety precaution.
3. Conduct Drug Testing for Job Applicants. The most obvious way to use drug testing is as a screening tool with potential hires. Make it a standard part of background checks in order to screen candidates who shouldn’t qualify to work at your facilities.
4. Conduct Drug Testing at Random for Employees. Another way to use drug testing is at random for your current employees. Random tests are a good way to deter your workers from using drugs and to push toward a consistent drug-free workplace. What’s more, they are fair to everyone because anyone can be tested at any time.
5. Customize the Type and Method of Drug Testing. With today’s drug-screening technology, there are many ways to test for drug use, from urine tests to saliva tests to hair samples. Because the different methods have different costs, requirements and accuracy levels, consider which makes the most sense for your company. Hair testing, for example, can show you up to 90 days of information about whether or not a person has used drugs, while urine tests will show just the last week. Customize which form of testing you use to the needs of your situation.
6. Document Everything Clearly. Both to protect your company and for better quality control, it’s vital to document every part of the drug testing process carefully. As U.S. Department of Transportation says in its Best Practices for DOT Random Drug and Alcohol Testing, “It is the best practice for an employer to document everything on the entire random testing process. This includes the numbers, names drawn, dates and times of notification, dates and times of collections, why a selected employee was not tested during a selection cycle, etc.” In fact, the article goes on to say, “If you’re not sure, document it!”
The bottom line with drug testing is that it’s too important a process to overlook in your business. As Pat Kelley writes at the Times Record, when job applicants find out you’re doing it, there’s a good chance the quality of your hiring pool will increase. What’s more, when you utilize drug testing in an ongoing way, you can improve staff quality and effectively ensure a drug-free workplace. Use the steps above to begin making the most of this opportunity at your company!
Christian Moore is the COO at Global Verification Network. He has more then 20 years of investigative and business experience designing efficient and effective drug screen processes for their clients.