9 Scenarios for Workplace Drug & Alcohol Testing

Incorporating multiple reasons for drug & alcohol testing programs can prevent employers from hiring drug-using applicants while also minimizing substance abuse among current employees.

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Employee Drug & Alcohol Testing

While it’s necessary to include various reasons for testing in drug and alcohol programs, it’s essential that employers and designated employer representatives (DERs) understand when to administer testing and which reason to select.

Pre-Employment Screening

A pre-employment drug test should be submitted by all applicants to whom the company has given a conditional offer of employment. A negative result must be received before an applicant begins working for the company.

Pre-Site Access Testing

A pre-site access drug or alcohol test may be required by Operator clients before an employee can enter a specific worksite. Pre-site access testing is often required when a work site is safety sensitive. In these situations, a negative result must be received before an employee begins working on site.

Pre-site access testing should also be administered on all employees with a leave of absence greater than 30 days as a condition of continued employment.

Reasonable Suspicion Testing

An employee must submit to a reasonable suspicion drug or alcohol test when an employer has, in accordance with the applicable state law, reason to suspect the employee has or may have used drugs or alcohol in violation of the company’s policy. Reasonable suspicion determinations must be based on specific, current observations that can be verbalized, including but not limited to the employee’s appearance, behavior, speech, or body odors. An employee who is required to submit a reasonable suspicion test should be suspended until the test results are received.

Employers can reduce risk and liability by ensuring their supervisors have completed reasonable suspicion training.

Post-Accident Testing

An employee that causes or contributes to a work-related accident should submit a post-accident drug and/or alcohol test within two hours but no later than twenty-four hours following the accident. A work-related accident means an accident:

  1. Which occurs while the employee is on the premises of the company or at another work-site location, or is off-site while engaged in activities for or on behalf of the company, or while the employee is operating a vehicle, including the employee’s, for or on behalf of the company, and
  2. There is a reasonable possibility that drugs or alcohol could have caused or contributed to the accident and
  3. The accident results in one or more of the following:
    1. A fatality
    2. Bodily injury to any individual who, as a result of the accident, requires immediate medical treatment (excluding first aid) at or away from the scene of the accident
    3. Property damage to company property or to the property of a customer that is reasonably anticipated to excel $1500, including vehicular damage.

An employee required to submit a post-accident test should be suspended until the test results are received.

Random Testing

A random drug and/or alcohol test should only be submitted when an employee is selected for testing by a scientifically-valid random selection process. Once an employee is notified of his or her selection, they must proceed to the test site immediately.

Return to Duty Testing

A return-to-duty test should be administered before an employee who previously tested positive or violated the company’s drug and alcohol policy can return to work. Return-to-duty testing is a single test that is performed at a scheduled time, typically following the completion of a substance abuse program (SAP).

Follow-Up Testing

Follow-up tests are submitted by employees who previously tested positive or violated the company’s drug and alcohol policy as part of the return-to-duty process. Follow-up testing is performed after the initial return-to-duty test and the number of tests is typically determined by the substance abuse professional.

Periodic Testing

Periodic tests are scheduled tests performed on current employers at consistent time periods throughout the year (Ex. Annual drug tests).

Sweep Testing

A test is classified as a “sweep” when every employee on the worksite is tested.

Drug & Alcohol Testing in the Workplace

Combining multiple reasons for testing in drug and alcohol programs helps employers create and maintain safe workplaces while also decreasing absenteeism, accidents, turnover and theft. Contact TEAM today to establish a drug and alcohol policy that fits your business.