Workplace drug testing in the US dates back to 1986 when President Ronald Reagan instituted the “War on Drugs” policy among Federal employees. Fast-forward to 2021, and most workplaces, including businesses outside federal jurisdiction, have workplace drug testing programs.
Such drug testing programs are vital because the government statistics show that the economic burden to businesses resulting from productivity loss to drug abuse treatment is $120 billion. Although some employees may feel that workplace drug testing infringes on their right to privacy, drug testing programs benefit employers and employees. Therefore, below are some workplace drug testing benefits for employers and employees.
Workplace Drug Testing Helps Maintain A Safe And Healthy Work Environment
One research review established a link between the drug and alcohol-related impairment to an increased risk of injury at the workplace. Consequently, the Department of Transportation (DOT) instituted a federal drug testing policy for all its employees and employees contracted to work with the department.
Employees who take drugs while on the job are a danger to themselves and fellow employees. However, drug testing helps an employee admit and acknowledge a drug abuse problem; click here to know how dot drug screening works, including the types of drugs, tested and administered.
Besides potentially causing fellow employees bodily harm, employees who take drugs on the job exhibit unbecoming behavior, including agitation, aggression, pilferage, and insubordination. Such behavior creates a toxic work environment and elevates stress levels for fellow employees. Therefore, workplace drug testing programs protect employees from physical harm and mental strain caused by drug abuse.
It Helps Affected Employees Seek Professional Help
Most people with a drug abuse problem are in denial and continue taking the drugs regardless of the negative consequences of such behavior. For instance, high-functioning drug abusers can go unnoticed without workplace drug tests, cementing their drug addiction issue, and it may be too late to save them.
However, a workplace drug testing program can arrest the situation before it gets out of hand. Essentially, workplace drug test administrators submit positive test results to establish whether the positive test was an isolated incident or indicative of a pattern. Such tests include drug abuse screening tests (DAST), a questionnaire designed to establish drug dependency symptoms.
If the follow-up tests indicate a drug abuse problem, the employer can encourage the employee to attend a drug rehabilitation program. Moreover, workplace drug testing also helps keep employees who have resumed work after rehab straight and narrow.
Drug Testing Improves Productivity
Drug abuse causes absenteeism, dysfunction, low morale, inconsistent work performance, and failure to meet deadlines, affecting productivity. Moreover, given that teamwork is a crucial element in workplace performance, employees partaking in drugs become weak links that stunt job delivery and company growth.
However, workplace drug tests ensure that all employees are in the best headspace to meet set targets, enhancing productivity consistently. Second, one study review on workplace drug test programs’ effects on productivity showed that pre-employment drug testing programs help employees to recruit talent who believe in a drug-free workplace. Such employees do not exhibit drug-related dysfunctional behavior that causes a dip in productivity.
Drug Testing Programs Can Earn Employers A Discount On Workers’ Compensation Insurance Premiums
US state laws entitle all employees to workers’ compensation coverage or an insurance policy covering medical care, disability, rehabilitation, and death benefits. Therefore all employers should pay monthly premiums towards compensation insurance.
However, the insurance business builds on risk evaluation, meaning that the premiums vary for different employees, depending on their type of job and risk of injury. Therefore, companies without drug-free programs pay higher premiums because their employees face a higher risk of drug-related work accidents. However, some state governments issue a 5% discount on compensation insurance premiums to employers who adopt a drug-free workplace policy.
Drug Testing Policies Build A Positive Company Reputation
Companies that adopt a drug-free workplace policy indicate concern for the health and safety of their employers and the consumers they serve. Moreover, they inspire confidence because parties like clients and potential partners can rely on their staff’s project delivery.
Therefore, workplace drug testing increases a company’s chances of attracting lucrative business contracts based on its reputation. More contracts mean financial business growth that trickles down to remuneration perks like bonuses, commissions, overtime payments, and allowances.
Such comprehensive remuneration packages raise employee morale and loyalty, bolstering growth. Moreover, companies with a reputation for maintaining a safe and healthy work environment attract top talent.
Workplace Drug Testing Reduces Company Liability
Besides causing bodily harm, employee on-the-job drug abuse exposes a business or organization to accident liability lawsuits from employees, consumers, and anyone else present on the business premise. Liability claims mean that companies have to deal with hefty legal fees and an even heftier settlement fee if the court favors the plaintiff.
Moreover, court proceedings and trial outcomes on accident liability lawsuits are public and can skew public perception, denting the company’s reputation.
Workplace drug testing equally benefits a company and its employees. Therefore, the challenge is to explain the importance of such policies to employees, emphasize associated benefits, and purge the attitude that workplace drug testing is a witch-hunt. Employee-centric workplace drug testing education ensures that employers and employees are on the same page regarding policies.