In today’s blog, we’re delving into some of the most crucial facts employers should know about Drug & Alcohol testing, including why employers should consider implementing a drug & alcohol policy and the types of testing that can be done to protect and strengthen our workforces and communities.
“In 2017, the rate of hospitalizations entirely caused by alcohol…was comparable to the rate of hospitalizations for heart attacks…and the rate was 13 times higher than for opioids. In addition, alcohol contributed to 14,826 deaths in Canada in 2014, representing 22% of all substance use attributable deaths.” — Canadian Centre on Substance use and Addiction, (2019)
Perhaps said best, by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), it’s not just these numbers on which we need to reflect. With each tragedy, there are loved ones who are affected—family, friends, and co-workers left behind; communities, businesses, and livelihoods deeply impacted and forever changed.
Crucial Facts Employers Should Know about Drug & Alcohol Testing
Why implement a drug and alcohol testing policy?
Looking more closely at some figures, the NCADD identified that employees with alcohol issues had a 2.7 times more likely chance to have an absence related to an injury; that 35% of patients at a hospital emergency department, with a work-related injury, were identified as “at risk” drinkers; and that where workplace deaths were concerned, 11% of those that died were found to have been drinking. The Institute of Alcohol Studies in the UK carried out a study which also identified that those employed in office-based professions are more likely to drink during the week than others, and this impacts productivity.
In addition, binge drinking is estimated to be costing the American economy $807 per employee per year, or in other words, $249 billion each year (New York Daily News, 2015). With regard to the use of drugs, 70% of those using illegal substances are employed, and those who use illegal drugs are more likely to change jobs often (3 or more job changes in the past 5 years).
No organization wants to experience productivity loss, high turnover and greatly increased safety risks resulting from alcohol or drug use at work (or after work to the point that it affects work the next day). These are all good reasons to consider implementing a drug and alcohol policy in your organization. But how do you determine which type of testing is right for you and your workers?
What are the types of drug and alcohol testing?
There are a variety of drug and alcohol tests that employers can build into their Drug & Alcohol Policies. Below are a few testing services to consider.
- Breath Alcohol Testing. Breath Alcohol Testing is the most commonly utilized method for the detection of alcohol impairment, offering accurate, court-admissible, same-day test results. All SureHire technicians are certified to complete Breath Alcohol testing using DOT (Department of Transportation) approved Lifeloc Phoenix 6.0 technology.
- EtG Alcohol Testing. Ethyl glucuronide (EtG) is a nonoxidative minor metabolite of ethanol formed within the body after alcohol consumption. Numerous studies have indicated that the presence of EtG in a urine sample is a specific and sensitive indicator of recent alcohol ingestion, with a detection time spanning up to several days after drinking large amounts. SureHire offers EtG testing through lab-based testing only. EtG testing can be added to any 5, 8 or 13-panel urine lab drug test or tested separately.
- Random Testing. Random drug and alcohol testing may help to identify cases of substance abuse and, as a result, can help employers facilitate treatment for workers, improve workplace safety, reduce the frequency of incidents and WCB claims, decrease employer liability, and promote a culture of safety in the workplace. SureHire’s expertise in random testing ensures a truly random selection by using DOT compliant software.
- DOT Testing. Testing is mandatory for DOT-regulated employers. If you or your employees operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in the U.S. you may be a U.S. DOT-regulated employer. SureHire’s DOT Consortium Random Program consists of various companies compiled into a pool for random drug and alcohol testing of drivers required to cross US borders.
- Pre-Employment Testing. Pre-employment testing is a centralized method to acquire and document information about job candidates during the hiring process. SureHire’s pre-employment drug and alcohol testing services give employers confidence knowing they are hiring the right fit for the job.
- Post-Incident Testing. Post-incident drug and alcohol testing (also called post-accident testing) is completed when an incident that cannot be explained through mechanical failure occurs in the workplace. With a network of facilities across Canada, SureHire is proud to offer clients 24/7/365 emergency testing.
When should I test?
If you are hiring a new employee. | If you are hiring a new employee, you may ask them to complete a pre-employment drug and alcohol test. You must require the test to be completed after the candidate has been offered the position, but before their first day worked. It is the employer’s responsibility to provide a safe
workplace, and hire the person most fit for the position.
If you need to gain access to site. | If you require pre-access drug and alcohol testing to gain access to a worksite, and to meet the requirements of site owners, you will need to complete pre-access testing. It is important to know the testing requirements with the individual site owner to make sure you are following proper procedures, as they vary per site.
If there is an incident or near-miss. | If an incident happens on your job site and you suspect alcohol was a factor, you’ll want to act quickly to confirm. As an employer, you have only 8 hours (based on DOT regulations) from the time of the incident to test the employee. If the test is not administered in those 8 hours, you must document the reason why.
If you have reasonable cause. | If your employee is visibly intoxicated and acting erratically, you have reasonable cause to test them. Being proactive can ensure you are stopping risky behaviour before an accident happens.
If you have an employee returning to work. | If you have a previous employee returning to work, you may require a return-to-work drug and alcohol test. Past employees may be returning from a leave of absence, medical leave, substance abuse program etc. This testing ensures you are committed to maintaining a safe workplace for your employees and for your company.
How do I choosing a testing provider?
Now that you know some of the crucial facts employers should know about drug & alcohol testing, you may be ready to choose a provider, but where to start?
SureHire’s dedicated, knowledgeable team is here to answer your questions and help you find the right drug & alcohol testing services for you and your workers.
Contact us to learn more and together we will continue to build foundations for safe, healthy, and productive workforces and communities.