Aiming for drug-free workplaces

At Quest Diagnostics, we spend a lot of time talking about the importance of drug testing. Whether it is pre-employment testing or a random test, keeping drug users out of your workforce makes sense from productivity standpoint, from a safety standpoint and from a financial standpoint. We spend so much time talking about these things, that when we hear someone else talking like we do, we get excited. A few weeks ago, CBS News and Charles Osgood picked up a story on Random Drug Testing:

Random drug testing of small businesses’ employees is more common than it used to be, and so is testing of prospective workers before they’re hired.

It makes sense for a company of any size, but especially small businesses, to require drug tests for prospective employees.

You may think you know your employees well enough to spot a problem if there is one, but people who are drug users are less likely to apply to a company that performs drug testing. Once a drug user is on your payroll, watch out: the costs can be a lot more than the $50 or less you pay for a drug test.

According to government estimates, drug users are four times more likely to be involved in an accident and five times more likely to file a worker’s compensation claim. The government says across the country, companies are losing about $82 Billion dollars a year in productivity. Drug users miss more days of work and show up late more often.

You may not want to invade your workers’ privacy, but if there’s random screening, nobody needs to feel they’re being singled out.

Alcoholism is in the same category. You know that if a worker has a drinking problem, it’s almost sure to affect their job performance. According to Quest Diagnostics, one of the largest testing labs, typically almost 6% of employees and 4% of job applicants nationwide test positive for drug use. Insurance companies often charge lower premium rates to businesses that screen for drug use and actively aim for a drug-free workplace. So, if the place you work implements a drug testing program, there is no reason for you to feel insulted. It’s nothing personal. Just good business.

The Osgood File. CBS News. Charles Osgood Reporting. Posted: Thursday, 06 March 2008 3:13PM.

For more information about drug testing, visit our website.

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