Drug-Free Workplace Builds Quality!

Drug-Free Workplace Builds Quality!
Posted by FoM on June 01, 1999 at 06:50:45 PT
Source: The Business Journal
As human resources director for Unison Industries, Bob Owens is responsible for making sure all job candidates receive a drug test before they begin working for the company.
It is critical, Owens said, that employees remain on top of the game each time they arrive for work because of the quality of work conducted at the plant. Unison, which employs more than 1,100 people -- about 500 of them at its Jacksonville plant -- designs and manufactures engine electrical systems for aircraft, industrial, marine and space uses. "What we build (at Unison) goes on airplanes so our employees have to be fully up to the task of their assignment," Owen said. While trying to maintain a drug-free workplace, there are certain aspects employers should know about drug testing. Bob Skipper, owner of Schwab & Associates, which coordinates drug programs for companies in Florida and Georgia, said federal law requires businesses to provide certain items when administering a drug testing program. The drug policy should cover who will be tested, why the test is being administered and penalties for failure or refusal to take the test. A program of at least one hour in length must be offered which covers the drug policy, reason for testing and education on the effects of drug abuse. An overview of the company's drug-free workplace program should also be available, Skipper said. Someone at the company should be trained to notice drug use by the employees. "Supervisors can be trained either in person, or by educational materials such as books and videos," Skipper said. A minimum two hours of education is required by the state, Skipper said, for a supervisor to be qualified to request probable cause testing. Kate Eastman, president of National Drug Screens Inc., said the company's role in protecting the company's assets has become critical and continues to expand. The essential functions of a workplace substance program administrator, or supervisor, is to design, organize, implement and administer services directed at the deterrence and detection of substance abuse in the workplace, Eastman said. "This ensures improved productivity and health for workers and decreases accidents and costs associated with substance abuse," said Eastman, who is a certified substance abuse program administrator. Employers, under the current state guidelines, must also offer employees an employee assistance program, Skipper said. The program can consist of a toll-free number to a mental health referral service or a resource file of local mental health/substance abuse counseling providers. Jay Waggoner, a urinalisis collector technician at Schwab & Associates, said the five standard drugs to check for include amphetamines, cocaine, opiates, PCP and TAC, or marijuana. There are three tests Waggoner uses for drug testing -- two urine tests and one hair test. One of the urine tests gives results in 15 minutes and costs $25. The other urine test, which costs $55 and must be taken to the lab, takes about three days for the results to be known. The hair test requires a minimum of an inch-and-a-half of hair from the scalp and detects drugs in the system as far back as 90 days. That test, which costs between $65 and $70, also takes about three days for results. John E. Jacob, executive vice president and chief communications officer for Anheuser-Busch's corporate office in St. Louis, said the company switched from urine drug-testing to hair drug-testing because it is less intrusive and dates back to a longer period of time. However, when employees are involved in an accident at work, they are given a urine test because it serves as an immediate window to detect drug use. Anheuser-Busch's Jacksonville brewery plant, which has 550 employees, packages and ships beer across the country. Employees at Anheuser-Busch are sent to the company's employee assistance program the first time a drug test comes back positive. The second time, they are fired. "Drug testing (at Anheuser-Busch) is designed to be rehabilitative and not punitive," Jacob said. 
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Comment #1 posted by Angelia Brown on June 01, 1999 at 12:30:13 PT:
The "Crazy Train" Is In Motion Once Again
This is crazy! The hair thing is going way too far. Drug testing is a very bad idea, anyway, when it comes to marijuana. I guarentee that some of your best workers smoke pot! Oh, well. It is the companies' loss. There are still places to work that do not require them. They will only gain from the deal. It is fundamentally crazy not to hire a good worker just because he/she has used drugs. it is a different story when they are using it on the job or come to work "stoned". But not to hire them if they have used it in the past 90 days is going beyond safety into voilating their individual rights. Stay out of it!
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