How Workplace Drug Testing Makes for a Safer Working Environment
Why Do Workplaces Drug Test?
A drug-free workplace promotes a safe and healthy environment for both the employees and employers. While all federal, state, and private employees can be subjected to drug testing, a few industries where safety is especially paramount, are required to perform drug testing by federal law. These industries include transportation, contractors for NASA, The Department of Defense, and aviation.
Businesses in Florida can apply to become a Certified Drug-Free Workplace, which has numerous benefits to both the employer and employees. MD Now Urgent Care’s Drug Screen Services makes the change to a drug-free workplace easier than ever, with our extensive list of drug testing services. Our drug screening services are available during convenient hours with no appointment necessary.
Drug screenings are usually conducted for one or more of the following reasons:
Pre-employment testing – Drug testing for first-time employment can be a condition for hiring, even if there is no cause to believe that the applicant has been taking drugs. However, if an employer tests one prospective employee, they must test all incoming employees.
Reasonable suspicion of drug use – Reasons for suspicion include erratic or abnormal behavior, a reported use of drugs, and/or evidence of tampering with a drug test’s results. This type of drug test must be conducted as soon as there is suspicion to test, typically 24-32 hours after suspicion is reported.
Random testing – In some states, employers can conduct random drug tests without reasonable suspicion if they give advance notice.
Routinely scheduled fitness-for-duty medical examination – Employers may drug test during an examination to determine if the employee is physically capable to perform their job.
After a positive drug test – This test is conducted after an employee returns to work following rehabilitation for a positive drug test. Testing is not required if the employee entered rehab voluntarily, however that is at the discretion of the employer.
Post-Accident – This test determines who’s at fault in accidents resulting in property damage and/or casualties.
DOT Drug Testing – Drug testing for certain DOT agencies is required by the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991.
Benefits of Workplace Drug Testing for Employees and Employers
Employee drug testing serves not only as a powerful mitigation tool for low productivity, but helps to reduce risks to employees, and lowers workers’ compensation incidence rates. By becoming a Certified Drug-Free Workplace in Florida, employers receive the state mandated 5% discount on workers compensation insurance, and employees gain access to the online Employee Assistance Program (EAP) site. EAP offers free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees who have personal and/or work-related problems. Another added benefit of a drug-free workplace program is the possibility of lower workers’ compensation costs and premiums.
Overall, a comprehensive drug program can be considered a “win-win” situation for employees and employers. Per the State of Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation, drug abuse has several significant impacts on the workplace, including:
- An increase in workplace violence
- Lost workdays caused by alcoholism
- Stealing from coworkers to support the habit
- Job performance issues and increased sick leave
The National Safety Council has also reported that employees who abuse prescription drugs, are two to five times more likely to take unexcused absences, be injured or violent, or quit / be fired within one year of employment. Additionally, EHS Today reported that 80 percent of those injured during drug-related accidents were not the drug abusing employee, but innocent coworkers.
Florida State Laws on Workplace Drug Testing
Drug laws vary from state to state. Under Florida State Law, refusing a pre-employment drug test can be used as a basis for not hiring. Drug tests for reasonable suspicion of substance abuse, routine fitness-for-duty exams, and follow-ups to a positive test/rehabilitation must have a written notice of 60 days in advance. Additionally, all Florida state contractors are required to maintain a drug-free workplace.
Florida State Drug Testing Laws
Certified Drug-Free Workplaces must have a written drug-free work policy, which will be supplied to all employees and job applicants. This written policy must include what types of drug tests and drugs they are tested for as required by the employer. It’s important to review and understand the legal rights allowed to employees and job applicants through Florida Laws on Workplace Testing. Employees who require DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing have their own rules and information to know about the government drug testing program, which can be reviewed in this handbook.
Types of Drug Tested
DOT drug tests require testing for the following classes of drugs:
- Opiates – opium and codeine derivatives
- Amphetamines and methamphetamines
- Phencyclidine – PCP
- Four semi-synthetic opioids (i.e., hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone)
If the employer is part of the Certified Drug-Free Workplace program, then their written policy must include all the drugs by their brand or common name, as well as chemical name that they will test for. The employer has the right to choose any or all drugs that are listed in the Agency for Health Care Administration in Rule Chapter 59A-24, Florida Administrative Code. A copy of this chapter can be obtained by calling the Agency for Health Care Administration at (850) 487-3109, or
the WC Customer Service Center at (850) 413-1601).
Workplace Drug Screenings
MD Now Urgent Care provides quick, efficient direct lab reporting and digitized, rapid screens for fast, accurate results. The below tests for Florida Drug-Free Workplace Testing programs can be observed or unobserved, with or without chain of custody. MD Now Urgent Care always has trained, certified, and experienced Urine Drug Screen Collectors and Breath Alcohol (BAT) examiners that meet all legal requirements.
MD Now provides the following drug screenings:
- U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) drug tests, including physicals
- Federally regulated evidential breath alcohol tests (BAT)
- Urine, blood, and hair
- 5-, 7-, or 10-panel testing
- Random or periodic
- Reasonable suspicion
When You Fail, or Refuse a Workplace Drug Test
Employees who have failed a workplace drug test have five days to explain or contest the results. After an employee fails a drug test, the employer may or may not take a corrective course of action. If steps are taken after a failed test, punishment can include loss of benefits, termination, or rehabilitation. If an employee voluntarily seeks rehabilitation, they cannot be disciplined unless they have previously tested positive or received treatment in the past.
Refusing to take a drug test can lead to dismissal and a denial of unemployment benefits. As an employee, you must prove that your employer had no reason to suspect that you were a safety hazard in order to win back your job. If an injured employee refuses to take a requested drug test after the incident, the worker may forfeit eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.
If you are a DOT-regulated employee, you are not permitted to perform any safety-sensitive duties if you fail or refuse a drug test. An employee may successfully return to duties after seeing a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) and completing the return-to-duty process, which includes a Federal drug and/or alcohol test.