April 24, 2013
Random Drug Testing in the Workplace As a former administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Peter B. Bensinger states that there are “22 million marijuana users, 4 million current abusers or cocaine, and over 10 million Americans using prescription drugs without an appropriate medical prescription or for nonmedical purposes…” which brings to light the problem the world is facing. Should your employers be allowed to have random drug tests for their employees? Reasons such as safety, money, efficiency, and getting those drugs users help are all reasons I feel that random drug testing would benefit the world.
The first, but foremost important positive aspect of random drug testing is safety. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration report that 10 to 20 percent of the nation’s workers who die at work also test positive for drugs or alcohol. (Fusion) Safety of the workplace and all of the employees is very important. Most places will have an accident prevention plan and strive to have zero reportable accidents throughout the year. When a person is on drugs or consumed alcohol prior to or during work, their ability to think clearly is gone. They may have problems seeing things clearly, problems with depth perception, or just lack the common sense people have when they are sober. This can all result in accidents that will range from a cut all the way to death. My uncle used to drink very heavily. He would drink before work, after work, and often times during. On one afternoon, he went into work at Kraft and was running a large machine. His ability to think and react with a clear head was no longer there, and my uncle ended up losing an arm. He now has a hook for his arm. All of this could have been spared if he hadn’t been drinking. Another problem will arise with the people that have to work with the person who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You put everybody around at risk if you are not doing your job in a safe manner. An obvious example would be a pizza delivery person. If they were to be drinking while on the clock, and leave to go deliver pizza, they could end up in a car accident, hurting themselves or anybody else on the road. A less obvious example would be somebody who works on cars. If they aren’t thinking clearly, they could allow you to take your car back without being properly fixed, and who knows what could happen when you leave in the vehicle. To save drug or alcohol related accidents from happening, random drug testing would be very beneficial. It would allow employers to ensure they are providing everybody with a safe working environment.
A second reason behind drug testing is money. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that “drug use costs employers between $75 billion and $100 billion each year in lost time, accidents, health care and worker’s compensation costs.” (Giles) There are many people that would say that drug testing would cost a company a lot, but in contrast, it would cost a lot more for a company to deal with employees on drugs. First thing they could lose money with is lost time. It is fairly typical of a drug user or an alcoholic to skip work or have a decrease in productivity. Another cost that could arise is fees connected to accidents. When an accident occurs, including worker’s compensation, the company is usually the one who will be taking the bill for medical costs. After any accident occurs, there is another risk of lost time from their employees, yet again losing the company money. Some companies, if they discover their employee has a problem, will assist them with getting into a treatment program. Whether it be they have that included in insurance or not, some companies want nothing more than to help their employees and show them they care. My uncle was running a motel a few years back, and was still drinking. He ended up in the hospital numerous times, and his employer gave him two choices; he either move out