Category : News
Drug testing in the workplace is becoming more and more common and there is never a better time than the present to introduce it to your company or business. So let’s have a look at why testing is needed and how we can implement it in a positive manner.
Why should we do drug testing?
As the cultural trend of recreational drugs is rocketing and nearing an epidemic; the time has come for employers to take reasonable steps to safeguard their workforce from the negative impacts of what drugs can cause.
There are many direct and indirect impacts from drug use at work; if we can put monetary values to one side, one of the main effects are the potential health & safety risks. Obviously we could cover the potential effects of the drugs themselves; however, I think that the most important part that any employer should take away is that it is outlined within the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, section 2
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
It is an offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 for any person knowingly to permit the production, supply or use of controlled substances on their premises except in specified circumstances (e.g. when they have been prescribed by a doctor).
As you can see; not only should we look to drug testing to ensure the safety of the employee and other members of staff, but also we need to ensure that measures are taken to safeguard your business itself.
Another aspect that needs covering is that of being under the influence of drugs or substances when in control of a vehicle. This is outlined under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Transport and Works Act 1992. Which states that drivers of road vehicles must not be under the influence of drugs while driving, attempting to drive or when they are in charge of a vehicle.
Making Drug Testing a Positive Action
First of all, let us confront the myth that everyone in the workforce is against testing. In one survey that was carried out(1), employees were asked: “Does substance abuse negatively affect…”
- Attendance – 64% stated yes
- Productivity – 63% stated yes
- Morale – 63% stated yes
- Safety – 57% stated yes
As these answers show; the workforce is prepared to accept that drug abuse has an impact on all aspects of the business running and more importantly for them; their work life.
It should always be noted that if the process of drug testing is implemented correctly and employers actively encourage the involvement of the workforce, then much of the friction can be avoided. When you take the time to evaluate the goals of the employer and the goals of the employee, then this will often be shared. Both parties want to see the business succeed and both know that by succeeding; the lifespan of both business and in turn employment is also increased. Drug testing is a great support tool and although there is an initial cost to running a testing programme, the ROI is often very quick.
Effects on Business
The list of negative impacts could go on for a long time, but let’s take a look at some of the general areas that can be affected:
- Performance Issues
- Poor Attendance & Absenteeism
- Reduced Professional Attitude
- Reduced Physical Appearance
- Health & Safety Issues
Also on a direct note towards employees, they can face ongoing domestic issues of which will only stand to be increased by the abuse of drugs.
However with this in mind and only referring to the sites that have had active workforces I would say conservatively, that 85% have a real problem with drugs. The shocking aspect could be that there is not a direct correlation with workforce size and amount of drug users, meaning I have been on sites with small workforces with a high ratio and vice versa.
Among some of the worst is a large manufacturing site based in my hometown that has many substance abusers who not only work for them but who also take drugs on site. This needs to be addressed otherwise it is going to spiral.
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What Happens When Someone Provides A Positive Sample?
This is where we must stress that a positive test must not be an instant dismissal trigger, but it should be combined with an overall look at the employee. There needs to be a route for disciplinary action if required, but all employers need to also address offering support and assistance in treatment. Employees are normal people and face a wide range of ups and downs in life, sometimes these can lead to situations in which substance abuse becomes the only relief for the member of staff. However, we must also accept that many people see the taking of drugs as a ‘recreational’ activity and in many cases will not accept offers of help.
At the end of the day; when an employee has a positive result, then a calculated and methodical approach should be taken. Support should be offered to the employee at every step and the employee’s wellbeing should be held close to that of the business.
[panel panel_heading=”Phil Green Security” panel_text=”We can assist in the professional implementation and execution of drug and alcohol testing for your business.
– Support and guidance on implementing policies to allow for testing
– Pre-test preparation and guidance on random selection
– Execution of testing programmes
– Full recording of the testing event for evidence and due diligence
– Chain of Custody documentation
– After test guidance throughout either treatment or disciplinary
– Tribunal support and attendance if required” panel_color=”enigma_panel-blue”/]
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