Drug testing in hospitality and fire security

Man using fire extinguisher

Illicit drug use and abuse have negatively impacted various aspects of society. With the growing number of cases of drug abuse in the workplace, the situation has risen to an alarming level. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), more than 68.9 per cent of all drug users are actively employed at their workplace. Drug abusers at workplace lower the productivity and overall revenue of the business while putting their own life and others at risk. In the line of work where health and safety of citizens are involved such as fire security industry, drug abuse could have fatal consequences.

Growing number of cases of drug abuse in the workplace have forced employers to carry out surprise drug tests and deploy strategies to promote drug-free workplaces. Critical industries such as fire security call for immediate action against drug abusers at the workplace, as they not only put their own and fellow workers’ life at stake but also the lives of the ones they’re entitled to save.

Here are a few more compelling reasons determining the importance of drug testing in the hospitality and fire safety industry.

1. Endangers life

Statistics show that almost 20 per cent of workers in the US who die at work, test positive for drugs or alcohol. These disturbing statistics is quite high in the health and social assistance department. An employee using drugs at workplace not only endangers his own life but also of his peers and other members of the public. Consumption of drugs affects the mental balance of a person and impairs judgment. In jobs that require dealing with hazardous substances such as fire, even the slightest error may prove fatal and lead to a serious casualty.

2. Negatively impacts performance

People with a drug abuse problem are likely to be less productive than those who don’t consume it. If they consume drugs at the workplace, their productive will be even less. Consumption of drugs often leads to low performance at the workplace and leads to tardiness on the job, sleeping tendencies while working, low morale or self-esteem, and also frequent spats with co-workers. Employees consuming drugs at the workplace often tend to indulge in erratic behavior and frequently arrive late or call out at the workplace.

3. Increased medical expenses

Drug abuse can noticeably increase an employee’s medical costs for the company. It is estimated that employers lose over $140 billion annually owing to drug use. Through workplace drug testing, it becomes easy to detect workplace drug abuse and reduce on-the-job accidents and casualties. In most states, worker’s compensation law states that workers will not be entitled to compensation if they tested positive for drug abuse. Therefore, detection of workplace drug abuse through drug testing kits acts as a reminder and deterrent for employees.

4. Inability to handle emergency situations

Jobs involving fire security requires critical decision-making with little or no time to waste and therefore, workers should always be alert and focused. Use of drugs or alcohol impairs the body’s muscle coordination and reflexes and weakens judgment skills of the individual. In case of a fire security job, even the slightest error in judgement can prove fatal.

5. Discourage hiring drug abusers

Numerous organizations carry out pre-employment drug testing and conduct surprise drug tests for their employees. The aim is to prevent the hiring of drug abusers and identify in case any employee is using drugs while on the job. It also acts as a deterrent for other employees while promoting positivity at the workplace. Various states have special compensation plans in place to promote a drug-free workplace. Employees testing negative for drugs often get special discounts by health care insurance providers. Drug testing at workplace reduces the overall cost of benefit programs offered by employers.

Common types of drug tests carried out at the workplace

Research shows that almost 95 per cent of the times urine test kits are used to carry out on-the-job drug testing. Approximately 23 per cent companies carry out breath alcohol tests, 9 per cent organizations do a hair test, 8 per cent do saliva testing, and 6 per cent of employers carry out blood tests. Although surprise drug tests are often debated to be violating the right of privacy, it has so far proven to be the most successful measure to curb drug abuse at the workplace. These drug test kits are easily available and are remarkably cost-effective way to promote drug-free, healthy, and a safer workplace.

Conclusion

Whether or not to carry out drug tests at the workplace is a decision to be taken by employers keeping in mind the nature of work involved and the interest of the workers. There are a few debates regarding the invasion of privacy that goes against drug testing at the workplace but overall, drug testing proves to be an efficient and highly cost-effective way of maintaining a safe, healthy, and secure workplace for employees while boosting productivity and business for employers.

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