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Drug testing is one action an employer can take to determine if employees or job applicants are using drugs. It can identify evidence of recent use of alcohol, prescription drugs and illicit drugs. Drug testing works best when implemented based on a clear, written policy that is shared with all employees, along with employee education about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse, supervisor training on the s and symptoms of alcohol and drug abuse, and an Employee Assistance Program EAP to provide help for employees who may have an alcohol or drug problem.
Alcohol and drug abuse creates ificant safety and health hazards and can result in decreased productivity and poor employee morale. It also can lead to additional costs in the form of health care claims, especially short-term disability claims. How is drug testing conducted and how accurate is it? Generally, most private employers have a fair amount of latitude in implementing drug testing as they see fit for their organization, unless they are subject to certain Federal regulations, such as the U.
While private employers are not required to follow these guidelines, doing so can help them stay on safe legal ground. Court decisions have supported following these guidelines, and as a result, many employers choose to follow them. They also identify the five substances tested for in Federal drug-testing programs and require the use of drug labs certified by SAMHSA. An employee or applicant provides a sample to be tested.
Usually precautions are taken, such as putting blue dye in the toilet and turning off the water supply, to prevent adulteration or substitution of specimens so that collection can be completed in privacy without any direct visual observation by another person.
The accuracy of drug tests done by certified laboratories is very high, but this certification applies only to the five substances tested for in Federal drug-testing programs and alcohol. In the event that the initial screen and confirmation test are both positive, MRO, a d medical doctor who has special training in the area of substance abuse, then reviews themakes sure the chain-of-custody procedures were followed, and contacts the individual to make sure there are no medical or other reasons for the result. It is only at this point that the MRO may report a positive test result to the employer.
Certain medications can sometimes cause a positive result.
If this is the case, and a doctor prescribed the medicine and the employee used it in the proper amount, the test is reported as negative. Who is allowed access to the of a drug test? The result of a drug test may be considered personal health information. This is why employees who undergo a drug test generally must a release usually at the time of the test in order for their employer to receive the.
For more information about issues related to the release of health information, contact DHHS. There are a variety of circumstances under which an organization may require a drug test. Following are the most common or widespread:. What are the different methods of drug testing?
There are a of different bodily specimens that can be chemically tested to detect evidence of recent drug use. Although some state laws dictate which types of tests can be used, a of options are technologically feasible. Other alternative specimens that can be used for detecting the use of selected drugs of abuse include blood, hair, oral fluids and sweat. These five illicit drugs are:. The typical 8-Panel Test includes the above-mentioned substances plus:. The typical Panel Test includes the 8-Panel Test plus:. Though it might not be wise to publicize detection windows and invite employees who may use drugs to push their limits, when implementing drug testing, it is important to understand them.
For instance, alcohol is absorbed and eliminated more quickly than other drugs. This is why post-accident testing procedures often require testing for alcohol to occur within two hours. Other drugs are eliminated from the system at different rates and thus detectable for different periods of time, often long after the drug's effect has worn off.
The following are estimates of the length of time that certain drugs are detectable:. How does a drug test determine if a person has been using substances? What are cut-off levels and what do they determine? Aside from a breath alcohol test, drug testing does not determine impairment or current drug use. Rather, drug testing determines a specified amount or presence of a drug or its metabolite in urine, blood or an alternative specimen. There is a minimum measurement applied to drug testing so that only traces of a drug or its metabolite above a specified level is reported as positive.
For example, a low cut-off level could cause a positive result from consuming poppy seeds. Other considerations when implementing drug testing. Who pays for a drug test? Does an employee have to be paid for time spent having a drug test? In most cases it is legal for employers to test employees for drugs. No Federal laws prohibit the practice. Thus, it is very important that employers familiarize themselves with the various state laws that may apply to their organization before implementing a drug-testing program.
Furthermore, under certain circumstances, someone with a history of alcoholism or drug addiction may be considered a qualified individual with a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act ADA and other Federal non-discrimination statues.
As a result, testing for alcohol without individualized suspicions e. How does one start a drug-testing program? Drug testing is only one component of a comprehensive drug-free workplace program, which also includes a written policy that clearly outlines employer expectations regarding drug use; training for supervisors on the s and symptoms of drug use and their role in enforcing the policy; education for employees about the dangers of drug use; and an Employee Assistance Program EAP to provide counseling and referral to employees struggling with drug problems. If an organization already has a drug-free workplace policy in place, this tool can be used to ensure it addresses all necessary issues.
Because it is important to understand and incorporate the various state and Federal regulations that may apply, it is also recommended that legal consultation be sought before commencing a drug testing program. By educating employees about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse and encouraging individuals with related problems to seek help, employers can protect their businesses from such dangers, retain valuable employees and help play a part in making communities safer and healthier.
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