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May 21, by Peri Eryigit. Statistic Brain. Especially in safety sensitive workplaces, drug testing policies exist in order to:. At the root of all these rationale is the basic understanding that drug testing helps create and maintain a safer and more productive workplace.
But does it? They argue that we should also be looking at fatigue, illness, and emotional distress as causes of workplace accidents and injuries National Safety Council. The following statistics make it apparent that fatigue should not be overlooked in any workplace safety program, whether that program includes random drug testing or not. Whether you are required to use random drug testing or not, it is important to be aware of its limitations so that you can supplement it with other necessary safety procedures and create a more robust and positive safety culture. So, here are the 7 disadvantages of random workplace drug testing policy that researchers and workplace safety experts have discovered and that you should be conscious of.
A positive drug test reveals only a potential past condition and not necessarily a present one. This is not helpful when the purpose of drug tests is to dissuade drug use and intoxication while on the job. Timing is especially important when testing for cannabis. Unlike alcohol, which is water-soluble and whose presence in the blood more accurately reflects current intoxication, the chemical compounds in cannabis can be present in body fluids long after they have been metabolized and long after the psychoactive effects have worn off.
This issue has commonly prevented DUI-cannabis charges to lead to successful convictions. So, urine or blood testing for cannabis use are ineffective in revealing intoxication, preventing accidents, and dissuading drug use while at work. Instead, the strongest indicators of real-time cannabis impairment are behavioral and cognitive measures. Unsuprisingly, cannabis is the most common cause of positive drug tests in the workplace.
Anyone who smokes pot will just stop for a few days. The fact that workplace drug tests do not measure impairment in real-time also make it impossible for them to be considered a safety measure. When drug tests are taken before work, they obviously do not detect drug use while actually on the job, nor do they dissuade drug users from taking drugs after the test is done. Thus, they do not improve safety. Instead, job applicants merely take a break from using drugs so they are clean for the pre-employment drug screen. Insight : In one recent case, a company related to us how they'd been over-reliant on random drug tests until one worker, after having passed his random drug test that morning, went on to cause a fatal accident in the afternoon.
In the post-accident drug test, he was positive for cocaine. Further investigation revealed that workers at the company commonly celebrated passing a drug test by taking drugs immediately afterwards. When drug tests are taken after an accident, their purpose as a safety measure is moot. Too little, too late. And especially too little when you get a false positive!
Here are 20 common medications known to cause false positives, as listed by GoodRX:. Amitriptyline Amitril : An antidepressant. Bupropion Wellbutrin : An antidepressant. Dextromethorphan Robitussin, Delsym : Found in many over-the-counter cough suppressants. Diltiazem Cardizem : Used to treat hypertension high blood pressure or to slow heart rate. Diphenhydramine Benadryl : An antihistamine found in allergy medications or sleep aids. Ibuprofen Motrin, Advil and naproxen Aleve : Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medications.
Metformin Glucophage : A common oral medication for diabetes. Fluoxetine Prozac and trazodone: Used to treat depression. Pseudoephedrine Sudafed : Used for sinus and nasal congestion. Labetalol Trandate : Used for blood pressure control. Doxylamine: Found in over-the-counter sleep aids. Sertraline Zoloft : An antidepressant. Tramadol Ultram : Used for pain treatment.
Quetiapine Seroquel : An antidepressant. Phentermine Adipex-P : Weight loss medication. Oxaprozin Daypro : Anti-inflammatory medication used to treat arthritis. Venlafaxine Effexor XR : An antidepressant. Proton pump inhibitors omeprazole, esomeprazole, pantoprazole : Used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease GERD and heartburn symptoms. Quinolone antibiotics levofloxacin, ofloxacin : Used to treat urinary tract infections, pneumonia, sinus infections, and more.
So, the presence of a substance detected in body fluid is not necessarily an indicator of impairment while at work. The legalization or decriminalization of cannabis in various countries, especially for medicinal purposes, has left many companies in a pickle. The legalization or decriminalization of cannabis in various countries has left many companies in a pickle. Photo credit: Youtube. In such a time of social change and developing scientific research on cannabis use, penalizing workers for having consumed cannabis at some point, for either medical or recreational purposes, often in a lawsuit.
The possibility of positives and the growing use of medical marijuana further contribute to employee grievances and pushback against workplace drug testing. Sejits, O'Farell. Employee's general dislike of random and pre-employment drug tests stems from the fact that they are focused on catching and punishing wrongdoing.
Such a negative and reactive approach to workplace safety typically from poor management and leadership. When the only recognition for safety performance in a workplace is in the form of reprimand, communication and rapport between front-line workers and management tends to be poor. Blair, Spurlock, Most accidents are caused by fatigue or alcohol" Maltby. Workplace drug testing overlooks other forms of impairment, such as those caused by alcohol, fatigue, illness, and even emotional distress. Alcohol tests at work are not as common as drug tests, although many employees who are randomly tested for drugs may also drink regularly or to excess.
Further, the effects of alcohol linger long after an alcohol test would be able to detect its presence. For example, although a worker may not be acutely or visibly drunk at work, they may be hungover and neither a random drug test nor an alcohol test will prevent them from undertaking safety-sensitive work. Drug testing these employees cannot identify any heightened safety risks they pose before they become apparent in lagging indicators. But pre-task or pre-shift impairment testing can do this, and thus allow intervention by supervisors when such circumstances arise.
More than half of Americans say they have tried marijuana and 55 million use marijuana weekly. W ashington Post, That's a lot. And drug tests that disqualify candidates or discourage them from even applying based on if they've had marijuana sometime in the recent past make finding a qualified job candidate a lot more difficult for employers.
Pinsker, And it's not just cannabis users that are penalized. Stories of workers being fired for using prescription medicine while at work are not uncommon. Ironically, in many cases, these prescription medicines are actually meant to enhance the worker's ability to remain focused and productive. For example, ten years ago, The New York Times reported on the story of a woman who was fired from her job of 22 years after testing positive for a painkiller that her doctor prescribed.
Business Insider, The situation is especially lamentable when companies have to fire dedicated and valuable employees in an effort to remain compliant with regulations that do not necessarily improve safety. Meanwhile, candidates impaired by alcohol, whether currently or in the past, are not subject to the same scrutiny. Comer, When cognitive impairment testing first entered the market, the price of technology was too high for it to be successfully integrated into workplace safety systems. Now, however, most people have smartphones and buying a few tablets or providing Wi-Fi is affordable even for the smallest businesses.
So, is it time to abandon workplace drug testing for impairment testing? What you can do is use cognitive impairment testing on a daily basis, whilst also drug testing workers when necessary or required. Rather than needing expensive and cumbersome equipment, impairment tests now come in the form of easily-accessed software downloaded onto mobile devices like smartphones or tablet computers, which are ubiquitous and more easily affordable and accessible.
From the Field:. A worker takes the AlertMeter test on a tablet. The test can also be taken on personal smartphones. As cannabis becomes more accepted and legalized, many have stopped referring to it as a drug. Our society is also very different. We take different drugs. We take more drugs, such as for depression and ADHD. Depending on what state or county you live, you might even have a different definition of what constitutes a "drug.
As a result of this constantly evolving approach to drugs and drug use, employers want alternatives that preclude penalizing valuable employees for their private lives. Testing for impairment rather than drugs allows workplaces to overcome such legal and social changes by looking at impairment in and of itself.
Is your employee alert, healthy, focused, and fit-for-work? Then, no further prying needed. Are they having trouble focusing and staying alert?Does drug testing reduce drug use
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