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Drug Testing in the US Workplace

Drug Screening in the U.S. Workplace

The concept of drug testing has really grown in the U.S. Not only when it comes to pre-employment criteria, but also randomly throughout the workforce. The goal is to make sure those that are hired are going to be able to successfully and safely perform the job tasks. Drug testing also helps to reduce insurance premiums and that helps with the overhead for any business.

Before you go, See “Workplace Drug Testing” Video, Below.

Drug Testing in the US Workplace

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Testing for drug use, in comparison is, a bargain, resulting in higher productivity, lower incidence of injury, less lost time and less expensive insurance.

In the case of the Nuclear Power Generating Industry, for one example, safety concerns are not only for employees and their co-workers. The safety of the public-at-large is a major consideration.

In terms of construction and maintenance contracting or, other service industry contracting, a company’s safety record, if less than optimum, could preclude it from winning a contract -for at least two reasons; 1) a bad safety record drives up overhead in the form of workers’ compensation insurance rates, and 2) a bad safety record might preclude a company from being invited to bid.  In the first consideration above, a higher overhead makes it more difficult to compete -a company might not be able to be the lowest bidder.

Medical Field
With the access to various forms of medications in the medical field, you can be sure that employers are doing drug testing on a regular basis. They realize that the individuals in such a work environment are responsible for the patient and often make decisions that could have  life or death ramifications for someone in their care. Employers aren’t going to want to allow the use of drugs by such employees to slip through the cracks.

While some types of factory work doesn’t require very much in terms of higher education or technical skills, as the employees can be taught the job they will perform, there are plenty of hazards present and plenty of room for injuries or mistakes. The machinery is quite sophisticated and expensive. Working conditions may be quite harsh.

Keeping drugs out of such entities is very important for production levels, the quality of production, and the overall safety of everyone.  It is a well known fact that if safety is the number one priority, quality and production will be where it should be.

With construction, there are plenty of specialized tools, equipment, and even working at heights involved. Certainly it wouldn’t be effective to allow individuals to do such work without drug testing being enforced for the overall safety of other employees as well as the entire construction site.

The umbrella of transportation workers is very large. This includes those that operate public transportation, truck drivers, and even taxi drivers. All of these individuals are out there on the road with other people and need to be as safe as possible. It makes perfect sense for them to be drug tested.


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Office Setting
Many employers in an office setting also take part in drug testing. They don’t want to take the risk that one of their employees will go off the edge with other employees or customers. They want to maintain a safe and friendly environment at all times.

While many employers in the U.S. are now taking part in drug testing, they aren’t without an understanding that drug use occurs nonetheless. They continue to use more advanced systems for testing so that it is tough to cheat.

At the same time, since the company often has an investment in a good employee, many of them also offer treatment options rather than firing someone that has a positive drug test. They are taking a proactive approach to find a solution and that is encouraging.

Post-Accident or Post-Injury Drug Testing
As a defense mechanism, it is standard procedure for a company to immediately test for drugs in the event of a personal injury or industrial accident involving an employee.

Do you have any thoughts on or experience with this? If so, why not share them by commenting below.

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Workplace Drug Testing

More Useful Info:

Drug test – Wiki

Ronald Reagan’s War on Drugs



9 Responses to “Drug Testing in the US Workplace”

  1. David Jerczak says:

    Hi Ann –

    I really don’t know, unless they saw something that was outside the parameters they expect to see.

    Let us know, if you would -you have me curious too.
    Thanks for leaving the note.

    Dave J

  2. Ann says:

    Hi Dave,
    I just took a pre employment drug test. The employer uses the icup. I was told that “it didn’t register” and they sent me to a drug testing facility for another test. Why would they send me to a clinic for another test?

  3. BBFocus says:

    Well, I’ll soon be graduating and I’ll be working in the medical field, so I guess it’s time I cut down on every one of my bad habits and eventually stop it all. I’m going to quit everything 6 months prior just to be one the safe side, but I’ll have to do more research to know exactly how long it takes to get the substance out of the system.

  4. David Jerczak says:

    Thanks for the note Aaron.

    Dave J

  5. Aaron P says:

    I’m working retail right now and we don’t have any required drug testing. I’ve been working in this place for the past 5 years, so I’ve been getting high for as long. I’ll soon be working for a construction company though and to be honest I had no idea they had mandatory drug testing. No more juanita for me… dang… this sucks big time. This is why you want to work for yourself and not others. Be your own boss and get high as much you’d like.

  6. David Jerczak says:

    Hey Molly –

    I agree with you on all counts. Thanks for the note.

    Dave J

  7. Molly says:

    I checked the articles here about beating the drug test and I’d make that choice if my time was running out, but since I still got some time, so I think it would be a better choice to just go clean. I was always aware that I’d have to take drug test one day, but it still stinks that I’m getting old and I’ve got to the responsible thing. When will our country be as progressive as the Germans and realize that weed isn’t the same as cocaine or crack? I hope soon.. sigh…

  8. David Jerczak says:

    Thanks for the note Aaron. Good luck with your new job.

    Dave J

  9. David Jerczak says:

    BBF –

    Thanks for the note.

    I think it’s smart, if you can hold to it. It’s the only ‘guarantee’ that you’ll pass a drug screen.
    There is no point in ‘rolling the dice’ on a good job, in my view.

    Good luck.
    Dave J

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