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What Employees Need to Know about Drug and Alcohol Testing

After Congress approved the Drug-Free Workplace Act in 1988, drug and alcohol testing became more widespread. Drug and alcohol addiction may have a substantial influence on workplace safety and the well-being of your employees. An employment drug and alcohol testing program are essential in instances where a person may gravely hurt or injure themselves, another worker, or a member of the general population if they work under the effects of alcoholic beverages or illegal narcotics.

Workplace Alcohol And Drug Testing Policies

Employers must proceed with caution when implementing employment drug and alcohol testing. Although drug and alcohol abuse raises valid concerns about workplace safety, drug and alcohol testing practices pose the risk of violating rights guaranteed by the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Act. Employers should carefully plan and implement drug and alcohol testing procedures to guarantee compliance with the Human Rights Act.

Components of Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs

By creating safe, cost-effective, and healthy workplaces, employers may benefit from drug-free workplace policies. The most effective drug and alcohol-free workplace initiatives include five critical components:

  • A written policy. Your policy must contain the justification for the policy, including organizational goals and compliance with regulations, compliance expectations, repercussions for policy violations, and so on.
  • Employee education. Information about substance misuse problems is necessary for everyone within the organization. Employers must be prepared to implement a drug and alcohol-free workplace policy and program.
  • Supervisor training. Supervisors should be aware of the policy and program and instructed on how to document any problems fairly and methodically, maintain confidentiality, and send employees to appropriate resources.
  • Testing can enhance workplace safety while lowering expenses associated with alcohol and other drugs in the workplace. A drug and alcohol testing program can also dissuade individuals from arriving at work when they cannot perform their duties.
  • Employee assistance programs


Types of Drug and Alcohol Tests

Tests differ based on the type of substance being tested for and the material being collected. Only urine samples are taken in federally regulated programs, while the Secretary of Health and Human Services has issued guidelines allowing the addition of oral fluid specimens.

Amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, opiates, and phencyclidine are the most typically tested substances (PCP). Testing may be used under the following conditions:

  • Pre-employment. You can make drug testing a requirement for employment. All job seekers will be drug tested before being employed under this strategy.
  • Annual Physical Tests. As part of an annual medical checkup, you can test your staff for alcohol and other drug usages. Inform employees that drug testing will be a component of the exam. The failure to offer prior notice violates the employee’s constitutional rights.
  • For-cause and Reasonable Suspicion Tests. Employees who reveal indicators of being unfit for duty or who have records of risky work behavior may be subjected to testing.
  • Post-accident Tests. Employees engaged in workplace accidents or risky practices can be tested to see if alcohol or other drug usage played a role in the occurrence.
  • Post-treatment Tests. Employees who return to work after finishing a rehabilitation program might be tested to urge them to stay drug-free.
  • Random Tests. The most successful tests for discouraging illegal drug use involve an unexpected screening method.


Reason For Employment Drug and Alcohol Testing. Why Is It Important?

A substance and alcohol testing system can benefit your company in the following ways:

  • Avoid hiring people who are a safety risk.
  • Identify workers who have alcohol or drug issues and assist them in recovering and returning to work safely.
  • Collect data as part of your due diligence to decrease organizational risk and responsibility.
  • Aid in retaining responsible personnel who appreciate safety.
  • Showcase your social commitment to the communities in which you work.
  • Follow industry and/or Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements.


What Is a Drug Test Consent Form?

A drug and alcohol testing consent form is the paperwork that must be presented to an employee or potential employee for them to be tested for illegal substances and alcohol. When someone signs the form, it authorizes a healthcare provider to collect a sample from them and a lab to communicate the results with you. Obtaining permission shields you from legal action and criminal prosecution.


Methods to Do Employment Drug and Alcohol Testing

Several types of specimens may be used in drug testing, including:

Urine. Urine analysis demonstrates cocaine, marijuana with THC, cocaine, opiates, and alcohol. It detects the existence of a drug in the body after the medication’s effects have worn off.

Hair. Hair tests are used for cocaine, marijuana and THC, opioids, ecstasy, and alcohol use. Hair testing provides the longest time to identify drugs since the sample is collected in the presence of the lab employees; this reduces the danger of substitution.

Blood. Clinics utilize blood tests to specify the amount of medicine in the blood flow at the moment, which can range from minutes to hours.

Saliva. The most well-known approach for testing for drug usage after urine drug analysis is saliva testing, also known as a mouth swab test. Doctors use this test to examine various substances such as alcohol, cocaine, and marijuana.

Breath tests. The testing machines, commonly referred to as breathalyzers, are used to evaluate alcohol levels in the blood during testing. It reflects the present level of intoxication.

Fingernail Test. Fingernail testing is a lesser-known type of alcohol and drug testing. This sort of test is frequently utilized when a person has little or no hair. The benefit of nail testing over hair testing is that it is a more robust matrix that is less susceptible to procedures that might alter the validity of the outcome, including hair chemical treatment (hair dye/bleach), allowing for a more rapid and accurate conclusion.

Rapid tests. Urine or saliva is frequently used in rapid examinations. Rapid tests can provide a test result within 4 hours on average.


How Long Do Drugs and Alcohol Stay in Your System?

  • Alcohol may be identified in urine within 60 minutes of drinking and reaches its highest concentration after 5.5 hours.
  • The detection time for alcohol can range from a few hours to six weeks, depending on the kind of blood test employed.
  • Hair testing has the longest detection time for both alcohol and drugs. A hair sample can monitor alcohol consumption for up to 3 or 6 months and identify drugs for up to a year.
  • A fingernail test can offer a 3-6-month (6-12-month) history of drug or alcohol addiction.


Benefits of Occupational Health Drug and Alcohol Testing

Let’s look at some key benefits of drug and alcohol screenings in creating a healthier and safer work environment.

Safer Working Environment

Excessive drug and alcohol intake can weaken judgment and pose a safety concern. It is especially problematic in occupations requiring continual attention, such as construction and manufacturing. Drug and alcohol use can also result in injuries and accidents. As a result, testing is necessary to enhance the life quality of employees at work.

Improved Performance

Employees’ productivity and performance suffer under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Effective alcohol and drug testing will assist businesses in identifying employees who are unable to meet their specific goals. In addition, employers may use drug testing to identify weak links on their teams that impede progress.

Enhanced Productivity

In the workplace, illegal drug use may result in inefficiency, schedule delays, and lower revenues. As a result, it is critical to guarantee that personnel are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol while at work.

Reduced Medical Costs

Drug and alcohol usage has frequently resulted in workplace injuries and accidents, which add to the company’s health expenses. Therefore, employers should play it smart and undertake frequent drug and alcohol testing. As a result, it is worthwhile to do regular testing.


Is Occupational Health Drug and Alcohol Testing Legal?

Yes, it is legal, despite allegations of invasion of privacy and the fact that different states have different legislation. In certain cases, drug testing is required by law; for example, companies governed by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) are subject to federal or state employment drug and alcohol testing standards.


What Should Happen Following a Positive Test?

Most employers inform employees that a positive drug or alcohol test will result in instant termination. However, some employers allow rehabilitation and a return to work under supervised circumstances. Suppose a worker is permitted to return to work after a positive test. In that case, it is usually on a “last chance” agreement that includes monthly random testing, a year of probation, and quick firing if a positive test result occurs again.


What If an Employee Refuses to Do the Test?

It is lawful to dismiss a worker for refusing to sign an acceptance of the policy. Still, only after the employee has been informed, ideally in writing and seen by others, that failure to sign can result in termination.

Alternative approach: 

  1. Have a mandatory staff meeting, talk about the new drug-testing policy, and register the minutes of the meeting
  2. Ask employees to sign an attendance letter.
  3. Talk about the testing policy in front of witnesses.
  4. Ask employees to sign an acknowledgment letter.
  5. Ask witnesses to sign “employee refused to sign” on the acknowledgment letter.


Employment Drug and Alcohol Testing Confidentiality

Results should be kept strictly secret. Negligent sharing of test findings might lead to legal action for violating privacy, intentionally inflicting emotional distress, and defamation. Federal legislation (ADA) states that such records must be kept in a discrete, confidential medical file. Employers should require employees to sign a consent form authorizing the testing lab to reveal such results to the employer and authorizing both the testing lab and the employer to release such results to any agency or court dealing with a claim or lawsuit arising from the test.


Employment Drug and Alcohol Testing Near Me in Las Vegas

ProAm is proud to announce that it has started conducting drug and alcohol testing in Las Vegas. As a result, employers can test their employees, make their workplace safer, and increase their productivity.

Depending on your requirements, we may provide the following drug and alcohol testing services:

  • As part of a pre-employment medical evaluation
  • Random testing programs
  • Post-incident testing
  • For other reasons

Please contact us at 800-674-9515 with any questions or to schedule an appointment. You can also make an online appointment.