The Pros and Cons of Workplace Drug Testing

tray of medical test samples

Workplace drug testing is a standard in many companies. However, despite its long history, it continues to remain a controversial practice. With varying opinions on the appropriate balance between workplace safety and employee privacy, many business managers are left scratching their heads as they consider the pros and cons of drug testing in the workplace.

While workplace drug testing offers many benefits, there are also a few potential problems you should be aware of before moving forward. Here’s what you need to know. 

The Pros of Workplace Drug Testing

Workplace drug testing offers several benefits and advantages. As a business manager, you likely want to keep your workforce safe and free from unnecessary accidents and situations you may be found liable for. In that regard, workplace drug testing offers many pros. 

1. It promotes safety.

First and foremost, regular workplace drug testing helps to promote safety. Employees who know they will be regularly screened for drugs are less likely to commit an infraction. This leads to fewer impaired workers, reducing the risk of accidents. 

Depending on your industry, drugs could have different effects on your business. Companies that utilize heavy machineries, such as warehouses or contractors, should pay serious attention to the potential consequences of an employee using drugs while at work. 

2. It reduces company liability.

When an accident occurs on company property, the business is potentially liable if it is deemed that it failed to maintain a safe working environment. Regular drug screenings help protect companies from legal action by identifying any employees who may pose a threat to worker safety due to drug use. 

3. It keeps employees accountable.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans work to turn their lives around. Past drug addicts find work, strive to get clean, and look for accountability in recovery groups. However, the struggle to go back to drugs is a difficult one. 

When a company tests its employees regularly, it gives additional accountability for employees to stay clean and continue working. You can use workplace drug testing to keep employees accountable and overcome any past drug problems. 

4. It saves the company money.

When an employee using drugs causes an accident, there are many fees the company must pay. Potential legal fees, personnel injury, or damage to company property/equipment can all add up in cost. When you regularly test your employees for drugs, you can prevent potential accidents from happening before they do, saving your company money as they don’t have to deal with any fallout. 

The Cons of Workplace Drug Testing

Although workplace drug testing is a valuable practice with many unique advantages, there are some cons to be aware of. If you’re considering implementing workplace drug testing into your company, here are a few things to consider.

1. It’s an additional expense.

One of the biggest and most obvious cons of workplace drug testing is the additional expense to the company. Drug testing isn’t free, and depending on the size of your business, the cost is quite high. 

Depending on the plan, you may spend around $40 per person. While that may not seem like a lot, it can really add up if you have a lot of employees. For example, a company with 200 employees will have to pay $8,000 for one round of testing. Two tests a year means you’d have to allocate $16,000 of your company budget towards drug testing alone.

2. It violates employee privacy.

Another more controversial con of workplace drug testing is that it violates employee privacy. Many employees in the workplace feel that drug testing is invasive and infringes on their right to privacy. This has resulted in a large feeling of resentment towards drug testing from the average workforce. 

Many companies that have implemented mandatory workplace drug testing have seen a decrease in employee morale and productivity. Putting a hit on company revenue. While this isn’t always the case, it is something to be mindful of before implementing any drug testing procedure.

The pros and cons of workplace drug testing should be considered before making any final decision regarding your business. Understanding the risks of not testing, as well as the benefits of testing, will help you make a decision. Always be sure to consider your company, what you do, and what potential risks you take by not testing your workforce for drugs. Above all, work diligently to keep your company and your employees safe, so that your company can continue to run optimally and successfully.

Work Health Solutions

Work Health Solutions

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Work Health Solutions is dedicated to preserving a safe work environment and improving existing programs and care for local, regional and national organizations.

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Dr. Michael Tenison

A series of notable accomplishments distinguish Dr. Michael Tenison’s career in medical operations and healthcare management:

  • Successfully led medical operations at a national healthcare provider, focusing on optimizing healthcare delivery and patient outcomes.
  • Oversaw the regional medical practices in key markets like Oregon and Northern California, ensuring consistent, quality medical care and service delivery.
  • Demonstrated exceptional leadership in building and mentoring a large medical provider team, enhancing team performance and patient care standards.
  • Implemented strategic company policies and protocols, significantly improving center efficiency, clinical quality, and patient experiences.
  • Played a pivotal role in financial planning and identifying growth opportunities for healthcare services, contributing to the organization’s overall success.
  • Served as a primary point of contact for regional employer clients and insurance companies, fostering strong relationships and effective communication.
  • Maintained high medical care and case management standards through diligent supervision, chart audits, and performance metric analysis.

Dr. Matt Feeley

Dr. Matt Feeley is a renowned figure in military aviation medicine, with a robust background in occupational and environmental medicine from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 

  • Former Naval Flight Surgeon, exemplifying his expertise in aerospace medicine and commitment to military health.
  • Served with distinction at NSA Bahrain and HSM-37, earning the COMPACFLT Flight Surgeon of the Year award for exceptional medical service.
  • Supported U.S. Marines VMFA-323 aboard the USS Nimitz, MACG-38, and VMU-3, demonstrating versatility and leadership in diverse medical environments.
  • Broad interests and significant contributions in global health, corporate medicine, and aerospace medicine, highlighting his multidisciplinary approach.
  • Proven track record as a dynamic leader, well-equipped to face the challenges in a fractional medical directorship role with innovative solutions.

Dr. Glen Cheng

A physician-attorney with a dedication to healthcare innovation, informatics, and digital health.

  • Currently spearheads employee health protection and promotion within the VA Pittsburgh Health Care System.
  • Trained in residency at Harvard, achieving board certification as a physician; also a licensed patent attorney with experience as FDA regulatory counsel.
  • Co-founded Acceleromics, a consulting firm providing clinical and regulatory guidance to digital health startups.

Erin Davis

 Chief Clinical Officer at Work Health Solutions, certified in Adult-Gerontology (AGNP-C) and Athletic Training (ATC).

  • Oversees clinical operations and ensures high clinical standards across the company’s national field staff.
  • Former Manager of Clinic Operations and Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner at Stanford University Occupational Health Center (SUOHC).
  • Specialized in treating occupational injuries and illnesses, and provided medical surveillance and travel medicine consults at Stanford and SLAC National Accelerator Lab.
  • Dedicated to sports and occupational injury treatment and prevention.
  • Assistant Clinical Faculty at UCSF, mentoring students in clinical rotations within the Adult Gerontology and Occupational and Environmental Health Program.
  • Holds leadership roles as Treasurer and President Elect of the California El Camino Real Association of Occupational Health Nurses (CECRAOHN), affiliated with the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN).

Dr. Robert Goldsmith

Expert in benefits design and onsite innovation with specialization in the pharmaceutical industry.

  • Previous role as Executive Director for Employee Health at Novartis Services, Inc., leading health services and clinical support.
  • Instrumental in creating an integrated healthcare system at Novartis.
  • Former private practice in internal medicine in Stamford, Connecticut, and Medical Director consultant for GTE Corporation.
  • Transitioned to GE as a Global Medical Director in 2000.
  • Holds a medical degree from Albert Einstein College, an MPH from the University of Connecticut, and completed training at Greenwich Hospital and Yale-New Haven Medical Center.
  • Assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the Vagelos School of Medicine, Columbia University.
  • Serves as a team physician for high school athletes in Stamford.
  • Published works on occupational health risks, primary prevention, and exercise-induced asthma.