The Obvious Reason For Drug Testing
1. Improve safety
The number one reason for drug testing in the workplace is to improve safety. Drug use has been linked to increased risk for accidents for employees and the public. According to NIDA, drug-using employees are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in a workplace accident.
Drug testing has been an important component for improving safety in the transportation industry for almost 30 years. In 1988, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) have included drug testing employees as part of their drug-free workplace program. Over time, crashes and incidents related to drug use among employees have decreased.
Private sector employers started to recognizing the impact drug testing had on safety. So, large and small businesses started adopting drug testing as well. With the explosion of drug testing in the private sector, more businesses started to realize the impact it had. Since then, case studies have measured other benefits of drug testing in the workplace.
The Not So Obvious Reasons For Drug Testing
According to The Journal Of Global Drug Policy and Practice, problems associated with drug-using employees are:
- Increased use of health insurance and benefits
- Greater absenteeism
- More frequent job turnover
- Decreased productivity
So, it makes sense that reducing substance abuse in the workplace will reduce the problems associated with it. Drug testing is an effective way to accomplish this goal.
Here are some real cases that measured the impact of workplace drug testing:
The U.S. Postal Service Drug Testing Case Study
The U.S. Postal Service was able to associate drug use to absenteeism rates in a study between the fall of 1987 and spring of 1988. 395 employees tested positive for drugs with their pre-employment drug test. In spite of this, the postal service hired them for the study. The absence rate was 59.4 percent greater in the positive employees than that of the negative employees.
Also, employees who tested positive were more likely to file an above-average medical claim. The average claim for employees who tested positive was $487 per year and $260 per year for those who tested negative.
SHRM Poll: Drug-Testing Efficacy
In 2011 the Society For Human Resource Management (SHRM) conducted a survey of over 1,000 HR professionals. One of the goals of the survey was to establish the effectiveness of drug testing in the workplace. Nearly one-fifth of the respondents experienced an increase in productivity rates. Also, 16% of HR professionals saw a decrease in employee turnover.
So, as you can see, drug use in the workplace has a larger impact on your business than you may realize. Decreasing accident rates related to drug use should be a priority for all high-risk occupations. Also, consider the other problems associated with substance abuse in the workplace including, greater absenteeism, poor health, and frequent job turnover. Your return on investment from drug testing in the workplace will reduce these problems.