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What are the reasons for drug testing?


By Ron Parker-STS, CHST
Most companies refer to drug screening as drug testing.  I prefer drug screening.  Whatever it is called there are mitigating circumstances concerning drug screening. Let’s examine a few reasons for drug screening.

Prior to agreeing to a contract the issuing authority and the receivers of the contract agree on how, if any, drug screening will be administered.  All companies should have a written drug screening program.  They also agree to what drugs will be tested.  Federal and state laws have to be examined and adhered to.  Insurance companies usually demand that drug screening be performed.  Insurance rates can be lowered if an accepted screening is incorporated in the contract.  Anyone involved in an accident/incident where there is personal injury or damage to property should be tested.  If there is reasonable suspicion of drugs being on or at the job site and more important if drugs are being used, a drug screening should be conducted.  Periodic testing, which will be defined later, is the method used.  Other than pre-employment drug screening and post-accident screening, there are two other categories of drug screening.  Random drug screening is done at a given time designated by management.  Usually ten percent of the work force will be randomly tested.  The personnel picked to be tested can be done using several methods but the best method is to have all personnel on the job site listed in a computer and have the computer programmed to pick, at random, the names to be tested.  Periodic testing is done by testing everyone on the job site.  This will help eliminate any doubt of drug usage on the job site.

Some feel being subjected to a drug screening violates their rights.  There is a concern for this; however most companies demand a drug screening as a condition for employment.  At this point a worker has a decision to make.  Care for individual safety and the safety of co-workers as well as concern for property damage should be paramount.  Therefore a drug screening is necessary.



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