As an employer, there may be many reasons to consider random drug testing programs. Properly conducting random drug testing as an employer means following standards and following them consistently. This can mean following important regulatory standards from a group like the DOT. It can also mean coming up with similar standards privately and implementing them just as consistently.

There are many reasons why regulated and non-regulated employers alike implement random drug testing programs. These include reduction of accident and injury rates, protection of workplace safety, and creation of a positive work environment. Random drug testing programs can also lead to reducing turnover rates, sick leave, losses, or liability risks.

Workplace Random Drug Tests Best Practices

If you’re conducting random drug tests there are some basic steps to take for best practices. This is true whether you’re following DOT guidelines or privately-mandated ones. First, review any applicable relevant state or federal laws and industry requirements if DOT-regulated. After that comes drafting the random drug test policy itself. Keep in mind how long employees will have, substances tested for, and consequences for positive results or refusal to test. 

Notify employees about the random drug testing program on a standalone form, and ask each employee to sign a consent form. Decide the percentage of employees to test each quarter and every year. If your company is regulated by DOT there may be regulatory standards to follow.

This may seem obvious, but you need to make sure your random drug test selects participants randomly. Using random number generators to both select names and choose a date can guarantee complete randomness. Work with a reliable random drug testing provider (like Soteria Drug Screening) that’s experienced in conducting tests, including DOT-compliant screens. Limit the time when employees are notified and when testing must be submitted. Ideally, only give them enough time to make it from the business location to the clinic. Finally, document the entire process thoroughly, including how employees were selected and notified, and the complete testing and confirmation process. This will protect your business in the event of an audit or lawsuit.

Some Random Drug Test Thoughts & Considerations

If you’re thinking about performing a random drug test in your business, here are some other considerations to keep in mind. Random drug tests are typically conducted once per quarter on a randomly selected day with randomly chosen employees. Collecting samples should be quick, and results will take 24 to 48 hours to complete depending on the test. 

Your policy should be clear about handling positive results, including the employee receiving information about substance abuse. DOT regulations require this step to be taken, and the employee must receive a negative return-to-duty drug test before returning. This can also lead to discharging the employee, but they should still be provided with substance abuse program information.

Each regulatory agency has its requirements for the exact percentage of safety-sensitive employees that must be tested annually. Naturally, those guidelines should be followed first before any additional considerations be made. Make sure to include safety-sensitive positions like drivers or pilots as part of those tested. Give employees a short window for testing, notify them discreetly and direct them to the chosen clinic.

If you’re looking into drug test services, be aware that different states either have limitations or prohibitions on random drug testing. These states include West Virginia, Alaska, Vermont, California, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maine, Montana, Minnesota, and Massachusetts. Also in Pennsylvania, a recent appellate decision changed what actions can be taken on positive test results from medical marijuana users.

Turn to Soteria Drug Screening

If you’re an employer looking to conduct random drug testing, Soteria Screening is a company that can help. Soteria provides fast accurate drug screening tests for commonly used substances including alcohol, marijuana, opioids, and amphetamines/methamphetamines. Starting a company account with Soteria is easy, and you only pay for tests completed and administered. We have facilities located nationwide familiar with both local and national drug screening standards.

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