Today, pre-employment background checks have become a regular norm for employers while selecting the right talent for their organization. Many times, employers go to the extent of performing drug tests to ensure that the candidate selected is sober. But, the big question is how will you deal with the situation if a candidate after getting hired in your organization comes under the influence of drugs and alcohol causing disruption and accidents in the workplace?
Before we look at the solution, let us now look at some of the statistics released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that showcase the acute problem of substance abuse in the workplace:
- 77% of illicit drug users are currently employed.
- More than 60% of adults know someone who has worked under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- American companies encounter approximately $81 billion in lost productivity, absenteeism, and accidents due to substance abuse in the workplace.
- Employee substance abuse results in 500 million lost workdays each year.
By now, you might have understood that there is a need for a mechanism through which drug testing can be done for current employees at any given period of time to ensure that the workplace is free from the abuse of illegal substances. One way to overcome this problem is by conducting a random drug testing on employees. But, for that you will have to come up with a random drug testing policy.
A random drug testing policy needs to be formulated in such a way that it is free from any bias and includes each and every employee of your organization. Once implemented properly, it is a great way to ensure that your workplace is free from drug abuse and there is no imperative problems amongst the staff members that can hamper the productivity in the workplace. It is also a way to tell your employees upfront that drug abuse will not be tolerated in your organization at any cost. While formulating the policy ensure that you include the definitions to the degree of punishment to be levied on an employee who is found positive in the random drug tests.
Read More: Employee Drug Screening: A Definitive Guide
Why is Random Drug Testing Policy Necessary?
Let us now try to find out some of the specific reasons behind carrying out random drug testing policy for your organization:
1. Helps in creating a safer workplace environment
One of the major reasons for employers to opt for random drug testing policy is to ensure safety in the workplace environment. This is equally essential in organizations where employees drive, work directly with customers, operate machinery or perform manual labor. According to a statistic released by the U.S. Department of Labor, 10% to 20% U.S. workers involved in fatal accidents on the job were under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs in their system.
By devising a random drug testing policy you are protecting your employees, co-workers and the general public. The other benefit is that if an employee is found to be under the influence of drugs after carrying out random drug testing they can be sent to a recovery program that can be totally borne by your organization. When an employee completes the rehabilitation program they can return to work. This works in your favor as you do not have to recruit and train a new employee saving you lots of money.
2. Protects your organization from workers’ compensation claims and lawsuits
Your organization can be held accountable if an accident occurs under the influence of drug abuse because you failed to provide a safe working environment for the employees. Normally an employee can claim for the injuries suffered by him/her on a job by claiming a workers’ compensation for medical bills and to cover low costs. But, by conducting a random drug test if you can prove that the employee is a drug user and was under the influence of drugs that resulted in the accident, the injured employee cannot be entitled to the benefits ultimately saving your organization the money.
Although, you might be worried about getting sued for wrongful termination after firing an employee who failed the random drug test, the random drug testing policy is a means to prove that the termination was justified which can save you an expensive lawsuit.
3. Promotes productivity
If you do not have a random drug testing policy and an employee abuses illicit drugs in the workplace, it can lead to absenteeism, erratic work quality, poor focus and negligence which can cause your employee to miss important deadlines which ultimately affects the revenue. By conducting a random drug testing policy, you can remove the fragile links and prevent the harmful effects of drug abuse affecting your workplace.
4. Certain industries require random drug testing policy
There are several US transportation companies that require random drug testing policy because it would be dangerous for the employees to drive under the influence of illicit drugs or alcohol. It has generally been observed that traffic accidents usually occur when the driver is under the influence of alcohol or narcotized. This makes it necessary for these organizations to have a strict policy pertaining to cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine and other non-medical prescription drugs. It is also a must for an organization to carry out cocaine drug testing for jobs that require interaction with other people.
5. Deters employees from abusing drugs in the workplace
Having a random drug policy in your organization is a very safe way to keep your workplace free from drugs. Once employees in your organization know that you have a random drug testing policy which can result in disciplinary actions or termination they will think twice before abusing drugs in the workplace. Ultimately, it will come down to their choice between earning a decent livelihood and their recreational drug use, hopefully they will make the right decision.
Now that you have looked at the reasons for having a random drug testing policy in your organization, it is time to act and formulate the policy in your workplace. In case, you need any help while formulating and conducting random drug testing policy on your own, consider hiring cFirst Background Checks as your background screening partner. We can help you to reduce crime and accidents in your workplace while also raising the morale and productivity of your employees.