Believe it or not, more than 70% of illicit drug users are employed. This statistic is quite sobering when you consider the dangerous and expensive problems that can result from drug abuse in the workplace, ranging from lost productivity and increased health insurance claims to debilitating injuries and even death. Although all companies have the option to test employees for drug and alcohol use, there are some industries that require drug testing. Some necessitate testing due to federal regulations and safety concerns, while others are more concerned about fairness and ethics (for example, athletes under the United States Anti-Doping Agency).
Whether you are wondering which industries require drug testing or curious as to how drug testing can benefit a business, we have all the answers below.
Industries That Require Drug Testing
In a 2006 report, the Society for Human Resource Management stated that 84% of private employers conduct pre-employment testing, 39% conduct random screening of employees, 73% conduct for-cause testing, and 58% require drug tests after on-the-job accidents. Although many of these companies choose to test employees to improve safety and productivity in the workplace, others are required to do so. These are some of the industries that require drug testing:
- Transportation: Employees in safety-sensitive positions must be tested for drugs due to Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations. This applies to aviation, trucking, mass transit, railroads, pipelines, and other vital transportation-related industries.
- Construction: As drug use in the construction industry is both extremely dangerous and unfortunately, common (the construction industry has one of the highest rates of drug and alcohol abuse), drug testing is often required. Some workers in the industry fall under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s testing requirements, but most companies implement testing due to owner, contractor and/or union concerns regarding safety and productivity.
- Sports: Whether at the collegiate level or in the Olympics, many athletes are required to undergo drug testing to promote the wellness of athletes and prevent unfair advantages. Some athletic organizations that have mandatory drug testing include the National Football League (NFL), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Although industries that require drug testing are forced to implement testing programs, many would have done so regardless due to their many benefits. “Small and medium-sized firms employ 80% of the U.S. workforce where drug testing policies and programs are not in place,” according to the Illinois Chamber of Commerce (source). If you haven’t implemented a workplace drug testing program yet, consider all of the benefits your company would gain through effective drug testing:
- IMPROVED SAFETY. The most important reason to implement a drug testing program is to improve safety in the workplace and prevent unfortunate accidents. This is especially important in safety-sensitive positions, such as those in transportation, construction, healthcare, engineering, and manufacturing. Testing your employees for illicit drugs can prevent accidents amongst the employees, your customers, and other innocent people. According to the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), more than 50% of workplace accidents are related to substance abuse (source).
- SAVE MONEY. Absenteeism, increased health care costs, and decreased productivity (all symptoms of drug abuse) can influence your company’s revenue. In fact, some estimate that these expenses could cost your company $1,000 per employee per year (source). Although a drug testing program will cost you money, it will save you more money, and most companies find it is a worthwhile investment.
- DECREASED CRIME. Drug abuse in the workplace can lead to crime, such as stolen property, violence, and fraudulent medical claims. If your company is experiencing these sorts of problems, consider using a drug testing program to curtail any drug abuse, which will hopefully diminish crime as well.
- INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY. When employees abuse drugs on the job, their work often suffers. Companies with drug testing programs and policies typically notice an increase in productivity. Employees are more focused, attendance is better, and employee turnover rates drop.
- HEALTHIER EMPLOYEES. An effectual drug testing program can produce a healthier workplace community. Plus, because your employees will be in good health, they will miss fewer days, have fewer injuries, and add to the morale of the workplace. In this way, the plan will benefit both employees and employers.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the highest rates of drug and alcohol abuse are found within the following industries: construction, transportation, manufacturing, hospitality, and retail. But whether you work in these industries or do something entirely different, implementing an effective drug testing policy could have a significant impact on your company’s success and your employees’ safety and happiness.
If you’re looking to implement a drug-free workplace through pre-employment or random drug and alcohol testing, contact Employee Screening Services. With offices in Springfield, St. Louis, and Kansas City, Missouri, and Indianapolis, Indiana, we offer customized solutions to make drug testing simple, and our nationwide network of clinics and onsite providers allows ESS to be available anytime, anywhere. We also provide education sessions for DOT employers and employees. For a free needs analysis or more information, give us a call today at 1-888-379-7697 or contact us online. We would be happy to help!