Drug testing employees is not only about complying with regulations or ensuring they are in line with an organization’s values. It is also about minimizing the effect of drug use on the business which, to understand the extent fully, you need to take a look at the following studies and statistics:
- According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Inc. (NCADD), drug abuse costs employers $81 billion annually.
- According to the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, employees who use drugs are three times more likely to impact the work environment negatively.
- Employees with family members dealing with addiction may face issues, such as lost productivity at work.
- The typical worker misses 15 days annually, while workers with substance use disorders miss 24.6 days a year.
- Each worker with an untreated substance use disorder costs an employer more than $14,000 a year.
And this is just the surface. There are mountains of research on the matter, and they all point to one thing: employee drug use is bad for business.
Many employers understand this, but the complex nature of some industries and time or financial constraints in others don’t allow them to implement the standard offsite drug screening policies. So, they opt for onsite drug tests and get to enjoy the following benefits:
Benefits of Onsite Drug Testing for Employees
1. It Saves Time
For standard drug tests, employees have to present themselves physically to the testing facility to be tested. Depending on the facility, they might need to make an appointment first. Being away from the workplace can take them out of their workflow, lowering their productivity.
Onsite drug tests, on the other hand, won’t require employees to take personal or paid time to go have their samples collected. They only need to provide their samples, which depend on the type of test being conducted, and then return to work immediately. By being away from work for only a few minutes, they won’t be taken out of their workflow, maintaining their productivity at the same level.
Also, in offsite drug screening, it’s not possible to send all the employees to the facility at once or ask them to do it at their own personal time immediately. That is why it’s common for employers to give employees a grace period within which they should have visited the testing facility and had their samples collected and tested. Within this period, the productivity of the business goes down.
At-home drug tests are usually instant and can take only a single day to test the entire workforce. As such, they allow your employees to get right back to work the next day.
Also, depending on the type of screening being done, the results could be ready in only a few minutes, doing away with the wait time. That means that, by utilizing the drug testing products to perform the test onsite, you can even test applicants during interviews and make the decision on whether to hire them immediately.
2. It Saves Money
There are several costs associated with sending your employees to a facility to be tested. Some of them include:
- Since they have to leave work to go to the facility, they will take longer to return to work compared to onsite testing. The longer they are away from work, the lower the team’s productivity. The lower the team’s productivity, the lower the profits your business makes within this period.
- Depending on your work policy, you might have to reimburse employees for transportation costs or incur it yourself to send them to the facility.
- You have to pay the licensed collection facility and the approved laboratory to collect and test the samples, respectively.
- You have to incur extra costs for the additional review of positive results by the Medical Review Officer.
- As it is easier to cheat on an offsite drug test compared to at-home drug test, an offsite drug test could lead to indirect costs, such as high turnover rates and more workplace accidents if the employees manage to cheat.
For small and midsized businesses, these costs can take quite a toll on their finances because they are more likely to employ more people using drugs compared to larger businesses which typically have stringent screening policies.
By utilizing products to perform onsite rapid drug tests, a business can do away with these costs or, at the very least, minimize them.
3. It Mitigates Various Risks
Although it is hard to cheat on a drug test due to various security measures that labs implement to prevent it, you cannot tell what the employee will do between the moment you request the test and when their samples are collected. As such, employees that are determined to cheat can find a way. For example, on their way to the testing facility for a urine drug test, they can drink significant quantities of water to dilute their urine samples.
By conducting drug and alcohol testing onsite, you reduce the possibility of cheating as the samples are tested immediately. The employees don’t have time to acquire drug-free samples, attempt to flush the traces out of their system, or wait for the traces of drug use to leave their bodies naturally. Also, as the results are almost instantaneous, the employees have zero chances of tampering with the samples or paying the lab to alter the results.
Apart from the risk of cheating and tampering, opting for onsite drug testing allows employers to avoid the liability of sending workers offsite in vehicles, especially if they are under the influence at the time.
4. It Allows Bulk Testing
Onsite testing is ideal for organizations with lots of employees and schools as it allows you to test many people at one place in less time. Instead of sending employees to the testing facility in shifts, it allows them to keep working until their turn arrives and they are called to have their samples collected.
As the collection and testing take only a couple of minutes for each employee, you can test all the employees simultaneously and resume normal operations. If this affects the productivity of the business as a whole, it will be minimized and short-lived.
5. It Allows You to Conduct Random Tests
It is not easy to plan a random offsite drug test for your employees without them knowing in advance. By utilizing products to aid onsite rapid drug tests, you can randomly test some or all of your employees at once.
Also, if you have reason to believe an employee is under the influence, you can use the onsite collection kits to conduct a preliminary screening. This can eliminate unnecessary expenditure for offsite facility testing.
Types of Onsite Drug Testing
There are several onsite drug testing options to consider. However, the type of tests your employees will undergo depends on the needs of your company. Some of the options include:
1. Urine Drug Test
Urinalysis is one of the most common forms of pre-employment and employee testing. It only involves the urine sample being placed in a drug testing cup to the appropriate volume, a five-minute wait, and then the results are read.
A urine drug test can detect traces of drugs even after the effects have worn off. It is ideal for detecting drug use within the past three to five days. It cannot detect drugs used in the past 4-6 hours. Some of the drugs screened for in urinalysis include:
This is the only method approved for federally-mandated testing.
2. Hair Testing
Hair testing has a longer detection window compared to urinalysis. A small amount of hair is removed from your head and analyzed for traces of drug use. It can detect drug use up to 90 days old. However, it cannot detect current use, only past. It also does not detect alcohol. Some of the drugs tested in a hair sample include:
3. Nail Testing
Nail testing is similar to hair testing in that it detects a history of drug use. A sample is collected using nail clippers and tested. Fingernail samples can provide a history of drug use up to six months, and toenail samples can provide a use history of up to a year. It is reliable for detecting:
- Other substances
Nail testing is often used as a substitute for hair testing.
4. Saliva Drug Tests
A saliva drug test, or a mouth swab drug test, is one of the best ways to detect drug use within the past 48 hours or the immediate past. It is easy and non-invasive, so the samples can be collected onsite through a swab of the inside of the employees’ mouth. Traces of drug use are then screened for in the saliva.
Saliva drug tests are very cost-effective. Furthermore, the results are reliable as employees cannot cheat, dilute, or adulterate the test. Some of the drugs it can detect include:
Onsite drug testing shouldn’t be considered only when a business wants to avoid all the expenses and hassle of the offsite option. It is far superior to it in almost every aspect. That is why you should consider investing in rapid drug testing products to perform onsite tests.
If you are interested, we have something for every kind of test. Check out what we have to offer.