August 1, 2017

Raise Your Hand If Your Company Drug Tests

By Paul Bieber

About half of you will. The bigger your company is the more likely it does test. And to put my view right up front, I am glad you test. Before we begin the sermon to those of you who are not testing, those that are have a new wrinkle. Many states now allow marijuana for personal use. When you test, it is impossible to tell if the drug consumption was legal at the time. This is a conundrum which is unfolding with no good answers yet.

Sermon, Part 1. So you don’t bother with testing. You don’t want to spend the money, you don’t have any way to keep the secure records and your crew overall looks pretty good.  But with the business fairly strong around our industry you need two more installers.  Let’s say there are ten available workers.  All ten apply at the big distribution center across town that pays more than you for starting wages and has better benefits.  But it is boring and demanding work.  But the money talks and all ten walk through their door.  Based on national statistics either four or five folks immediately walk out seeing the sign that the company does drug testing.  They know the results.

So these five people walk into your shop, and you select the two best.  What you don’t know is that all of these folks use drugs.  It may be only recreational on weekends, or it could be an everyday habit. (I am glad they don’t test me for chocolate.)  This is your problem.  You are hiring drug users.  No doubt about it.  Maybe it was drug use just once, three weeks ago.  But it may be every morning along with their wake-up coffee.  Is it worth the chance?  Absolutely not.

Sermon, Part II.  Drug testing will be easy to set-up at your company.  Look in the yellow pages or on the web for testing centers in your area.   (Does anyone still use the yellow pages?)  It will be a couple of hours of your time to meet and set up the program.  This is not complicated.  If you decide to hire employees, they go to the testing center, leave a urine sample, and usually within 24 hours you get an answer.  Thumbs up or down.  If a candidate has a pharmacy order for a drug that will be seen in the scan, you will never know about it.  They can be hired.  The testing center employs a doctor to handle the questioning of the applicant.

So this adds two days to your applicant walking in the door to work.  It is worth it? At my company, we had 200+ workers, and we tested.  About a third of our folks that we selected for employment then went on to flunk the test.  We had many folks walk in when we had a help wanted sign on our lawn, and you could immediately see the ones that then turned around and walked out.  Guess why.

You only test the applicants that you want to hire, not everyone that walks in the door.  You give what is called “a conditional offer to hire”, which is a promise of a job if certain conditions are met.  These can include a physical, or a driving records check or a drug test.  It will cost you anywhere from $50 to $100 per drug test.  There are different tests that can be done, some more extensive and costing more.  My suggestion is go with the simpler test.  This money spent now will pay you back 100 times when you don’t have a workers’ comp claim or that truck accident.

Sermon, Part III.  Don’t dilly-dally anymore. Do it. Call now and get it done.

Next week I will sermonize on after-accident testing and on-going testing in your company.  I’ll bet you can’t wait!