“Drug abuse is estimated to cost U.S. employers $276 billion a year,” (Palmer, 2012). Why? Because employees that have drug or alcohol problems tend to have lower productivity, higher absenteeism, higher health care expenses, and are more susceptible to be involved in an accident on the job. But there is something employers can do to lower those costs and that is to become a drug-free workplace.

drug free workplaceLike anything in business, it is always best if there is a formal policy in place before something new is implemented. The same goes for drug testing in the workplace. I found a great tool on the Department of Labor’s website called Drug-Free Workplace Advisor (http://www.dol.gov/elaws/drugfree.htm). This website explains the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and also assists in creating a customized drug-free workplace policy. It really takes all the confusion out of the process of writing a policy because it goes through each step, giving you choices of what to include or not. And with any policy for your business, it reminds you that you should have the policy reviewed by a legal advisor before distributing it.

Companies that are regulated under the federal Department of Transportation (DOT) are usually pretty familiar with drug testing in the workplace. If you are not regulated under the DOT but want to implement a drug-free workplace, you will notice that the information follows the guidelines created by the DOT. That is because those guidelines are at a high standard and if you abide by them, then your company should be pretty safe legally. But again, a legal advisor should review the policy.

Once you have your drug testing policy created, and reviewed by a legal professional, a copy needs to be given to all employees. Be sure to include a place where the employee can provide a signature and date, stating they have read the drug-free workplace policy for your organization, and give a copy to each employee as well as place one in their personnel file. Also, make sure there the policy specifically states the date as to when the policy is in effect and when drug testing will begin. This policy is something that should go in your orientation packet so all new employees are aware of it. Applicants should also be made aware that they will need to do a pre-employment drug test. Some companies put that in their job postings or on the application.

If you are going to be doing random drug testing, you will need to make sure it clearly states when randoms will be chosen (monthly, quarterly, etc.), and how many people will be chosen at a time. It is important that a third party is used to pick the randoms through a program that will generate the picks automatically. And that ALL employees are included in those random picks.

The Department of Labor eLaws website is an awesome tool for setting up a drug-free workplace, but it does not give locations of places you can send your employees to for the drug test. 3rd Degree Screening can help you locate clinics across the United States that can collect drug tests for you. Let us coordinate drug tests for your company, as well as serve as your resource for information and changes in the drug testing industry.

elaws – Drug-Free Workplace Advisor. (n.d.). Retrieved June 5, 2013, from http://www.dol.gov/elaws/drugfree.htm

Palmer, J. (2012, March 13). Workplace Drug Abuse. Retrieved January 5, 2013, from http://drugabuse.com/library/workplace-drug-abuse/