Workplace Drug Testing

Workplace drug testing is carried out to determine if employees or job applicants are using drugs. This is a necessary action because substance abuse is on the rise.

Substance abuse – which includes drugs and alcohol takes a heavy toll on businesses, costing billions of Shillings in lost productivity and increased medical bills spending each year.

Alcohol and drug abuse creates significant 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. Drug abuse can also lead to financial loss especially when the employee is working under the influence of a drug as well as loss of life when operating machinery in industries or transport sector.

M Toxicology performs drug and alcohol testing to improve safety in the work environment. In many
situations, people who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol at work will put themselves and others at risk. Companies run these tests to deter people working on their sites from using drugs and alcohol at work plus maintenance of the company reputation.

Common reasons employers implement drug testing are to:

  • Deter employees from abusing alcohol and drugs
  • Prevent hiring individuals who use illegal drugs
  • Be able to identify early and appropriately refer employees who have drug and/or alcohol problems for rehabilitation.
  • Provide a safe workplace for employees
  • Protect the general public and instill consumer confidence that employees are working in a safe drug-free environment
  • Avoid hiring individuals who pose a safety risk
  • Help hang on to responsible employees who value safety
  • Demonstrate your social responsibility to the communities you work in
  • Be assured of competent employees
  • Maximize productivity (because employees that are not on drugs are at their best potential)
  • Ensure consistency in quality and standard of products

Problems associated with drug use and/or drug dependency

  • Increase in Injuries/accident rates
  • Premature death/fatal accidents
  • Theft
  • Absenteeism/extra sick leave
  • Loss of production
  • Tardiness/sleeping on the job
  • After-effects of substance use (hangover, withdrawal) affecting job performance
  • Poor decision making
  • Loss of efficiency
  • Lower morale of co-workers
  • Increased likelihood of conflicts with co-workers/supervisors
  • Illegal activities at work including selling illicit drugs to other employees
  • Higher employee turnover

When should workplace drug testing be done?

  • Periodic: this is scheduled and is typically performed on current employees at consistent time periods throughout the year (perhaps once or twice a year). In this case, all employees are collectively and indiscriminately tested for drugs of abuse.
  • Pre-employment: this is done before one takes up employment in a given workplace.
  • Random: this is done indiscriminately with a purpose of preventing employee workplace drug abuse. This may be done once or twice a year.
  • Reasonable suspicion: this is done on an individual that is suspected to abuse drugs following their odd behavior.
  • Post-accident/post-incident: This should be standard practice for most workplaces. This substantiates whether an accident was due to the influence of drugs or not. This also guides on the benefits that an employee claims.
  • Return-to-duty for previously suspended employees: This is carried out when a previously suspended employee (for drug abuse) is to return to duty.
  • “Follow-up” – applied only to previously suspended employees “if” re-hired: It is recommended that a minimum of 5 follow-up drug tests of the reinstated employee are required in the first 12 months following re-hire.