KEY TAKEAWAY: Here are some key elements to keep in mind as an employer when you selecta drug and alcohol testing provider.
There is an abundance of available options for organizations looking to launch a drug and alcohol screening program as part of their workplace drug and alcohol policy. In fact, the sheer number of companies offering these types of services can be intimidating — as an employer, you want to ensure you’re making the right choice for your workforce. [To learn more about how drug testing can benefit your workplace, check out “7 Reasons Your Company Should Invest in Drug Testing”]. After all, while there are many screening companies out there, not all drug and alcohol screening companies are the same. Whether you are just starting your search, are switching providers, or are simply looking to enhance your existing screening, here are a few key elements to consider.
Current and Future Needs
Before you begin to investigate the various offerings of testing companies, start with an assessment of your current needs with respect to drug testing. Will you want to test on-site, or do you prefer an off-site location for your employees? Where will your drug testing programs fit into your processes, and what is their intended purpose? Are they for new hires? Are you trying to proactively prevent substance abuse in your workplace, or do you want to have something in place for post-incident testing?
And, don’t stop with your current needs. Consider your future requirements as well. Will you need a drug testing provider who has the capacity to scale alongside you as your organization grows? These are all important elements to consider as you narrow down your search.
Your drug testing program must be safe, secure, and reliable. That means choosing a supplier for whom collection process integrity is paramount. For example, can your potential partner articulate what constitutes a correctable flaw and a fatal flaw in the testing process, and the correct procedures in each instance?
There is no room for error or data breaches when it comes to drug testing, so your provider must also be trustworthy and have transparent processes that guarantee necessary procedures such as a chain of custody. They must also have professional, accurate systems that support the following:
- Privacy protection
- Thorough collection processes
- Rigorous evaluation standards
- Secure and comprehensive positive test procedures
- Extensive reporting options
The Types and Purposes of Tests Offered By The Company
Unless you have very narrow testing needs, you will want to consider the variety of testing a provider offers and their level of expertise in each. For example, do they offer testing options for urinalysis, hair follicle, and oral fluid? Does the provider have the capacity to test for the variety of drugs you want to test for? [To learn more about one of the most common types of drug tests, check out “8-Panel Drug Testing: The Most Popular Workplace Drug Test”].
Employers utilize drug testing for various purposes. Each requires different processes and must adhere to different rules, from collection to testing to reporting. Potential drug test providers should be capable of providing services for:
- Random testing
- Pre-employment testing
- Pre-access testing
- Post-incident testing
- Reasonable cause testing
- Return-to-duty and fit-for-duty testing
- Follow-up testing
Finally, if you are or may be subject to Department of Transportation (DOT) testing, the company you contract with should have experience in DOT, non-DOT, and Canadian Model focused drug testing.
Flexibility of Testing Delivery
Another key factor to consider is how your employees will be tested. Do you want to send your workers to a lab for testing, or would you prefer to set up in-house testing? There are several options available to employers. Providers can deliver point-of-care or rapid testing at the worksite, and mobile testing services can provide a similar service with a prepackaged setup. Traditional lab-based services are another option.
There are advantages and disadvantages for each. It’s ultimately a matter of what is the best choice for your particular workforce’s needs. You want to be sure that your provider has the capacity and experience to deliver the testing program that works for your workplace.
Your drug testing program should not be solely focused on the tests themselves. It also requires initiatives related to education, training, and other services, such as mental health support, to assist your workers in dealing with addiction and substance abuse. You may also need to employ the services of Substance Abuse Professionals or Medical Review Officers. Of course, you can contract for all of these services separately, but working with a full-service drug testing company means you can work with a single service level agreement and enjoy the safety and security of a seamless process.
Technology is enhancing every aspect of drug testing. From ensuring random testing is genuinely random to providing automated reports and data. Other technologies can provide you with an automated dashboard and appointment bookings, along with alerts and reminders. Even chain of custody approaches is changing as technology improves.
Make sure the drug testing provider you go with is committed to staying on top of the latest in the industry. That way, they’ll be able to provide your company with technology designed to enhance your program.
Drug and alcohol testing companies leverage partnerships and networks to enhance and extend their services. Look carefully at these partnerships and consider how and if they can advance your drug testing program. Every drug testing provider provides something a little different. Focus on the totality of the services and tools they can deliver on their own and in conjunction with their partners.
SureHire stands above its competition as a full-service occupational testing company serving more than 8,000 clients in over 1,200 locations across the globe. That experience and expertise will help ensure your drug and alcohol testing program runs smoothly and remains in compliance. When you work with SureHire, you have access to the vast accumulated knowledge of their many experts and you can rest assured that they’ll leverage innovative technology to give you the most accurate results.
SureHire provides a variety of testing services in addition to drug and alcohol testing as well, such as audiometric and lung testing, allowing you to handle all your workforce’s testing needs with one reliable provider.
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