Our clients in the general industry encompasses employees doing many different types of work where there are safety sensitive workers. We work with hospital and clinic systems, temporary staffing, manufacturing, the construction industry, school districts and cities and townships. We highly recommend drug testing for any industry where there is a risk to the employee’s or the public’s safety and health or financial risk by a breach of sensitive information like medical or financial records.
A company’s general drug-free workplace policy can mean the difference between a company with high turnover which is constantly hiring and re-training employees to one that has a stable and reliable staff. Our policy is to recommend our clients’ policies are at least as stringent as the DOT Federal regulations knowing that these regulations have been tested over time both in a court of law and in practice and are proven to reduce accidents, injuries, absenteeism, and theft in the workplace.
We do have some employers who do elect to exclude marijuana from their workplace panels either because state-specific regulations mandate that action or because they feel they have adequate protection by including marijuana in their reasonable cause and post-accident protocols. We are happy to review your policies to make sure you are in compliance in all states where you have employees.
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Drug Free Business, a recognized leader for workplace drug testing since 1988.
FAQs & Resources
- Yes, currently there are no regulations in Washington State that prohibit employers for testing either pre-hire, randomly, post-accident and/or reasonable suspicion or follow-up testing for return to work.
WA State does not restrict employers from testing employees for marijuana and other drugs of abuse.
The Standard DOT Look-alike panel includes marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines (both legal like Adderall and illegal like methamphetamines), phencyclidine (PCP) and opioids which include both illegal non-prescription use of pain medications like Vicodan, Percocet, Morphine and Oxycodone and illegal drugs like Heroin. (Note the current panel does not include Fentynal but that can be added upon request for an additional cost).
And, the WA State Supreme Court has ruled that employers may make it a condition of employment to not use marijuana, even if a doctor has recommended its use.
Expanded drug test panels include the drugs of abuse listed above, but can also include benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety medications), barbiturates (sedatives) and methadone (used for pain management and opioid withdrawals). They can also include additional drugs usually only found in hospital settings like Meperidine, Propoxyphene, Demerol and Fentynal.
You may want to reserve this kind of test for reasonable suspicion only in general industry. We recommend at a minimum the expanded 10 panel tests for employees who work in care settings where these kinds of drugs may be available like assisted living units, nursing homes, hospitals and mobile employees who provide hospice services.
Some CBD oils are made from hemp, a product that is supposed to contain less than .03 percent of the active THC ingredient, but because these products are not regulated through the FDA, there is no guarantee of that. Some CBD oils deliberately include THC as part of their mix and others that claim there is no THC in their product only to have users fail a drug test. There is currently only one medication approved by the FDA which is EPIDIOLEX for the treatment of epilepsy. Our recommendation at this time is to not use CBD oil if you are subject to a drug testing program.
All drug tests need to be fair, both to the employer and the employee. A drug test that is tested by a SAMHSA certified lab ensures the employee’s privacy and the employer that the integrity of the test is not compromised as the result is tested and confirmed by the lab, not by an employee at a test site where privacy or quality can be compromised. Instant tests also do not offer the employer as much protection for the detection of use of tampering agents or substitution of a specimen as do standard laboratory tests. Finally, should a drug test be challenged, having an accredited lab along with a Medical Officer Review (MRO) of the drug test ensures the result was fairly and ethically tested and reviewed with the employee and will stand up in a court of law, if needed.
Oral fluid testing looks promising for the use of reasonable suspicion testing as the window of detection is shorter than it is for standard laboratory tests. Right now, these tests have not been approved for DOT use, and therefore there is not a universally agreed upon standard for all SAMHSA certified labs for cut-off levels and levels of detection. Once that is in place, we agree this method can be another tool for the employer in keeping the workplace drug-free.
Your company policy, along with any union or labor agreements will dictate what actions you may take if an employee has a positive drug test
Some employers elect to discharge an employee on the basis of a positive drug test, others elect to have a last chance agreement which allows the employee the opportunity to rehabilitate and return to work. Help can be provided through your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) program. If you do not have an EAP program, we are happy to work with you to provide that service through our EAP provider Fully Effective Employees.
Policy will apply to all reasons. Your company policy, along with your state laws, and any union or labor agreements will dictate what actions you may take if an employee has a positive drug test
We recommend that every employer has reasonable suspicion training for those employees who are in supervisory positions (i.e. safety, human resource, direct supervisors). As part of your DFB membership, we provide this training quarterly as a live WEBINAR where you can ask questions of our trainer and learn from your peers on how to handle these kinds of situations.
- WAC 296-800-11025 Prohibit Drug and Alcohol Use in the Workplace
- National Safety Council Opioids in the Workplace Statement
- National Safety Council-Workforce-Drug-Testing-157
- National Safety Council Cannabis-Impairment-in-Safety-Sensitive-Positions-153
- National Safety Council W-Substance-Free-Workplace-140
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Drug Free Business provides a company with everything it needs to achieve a comprehensive drug-free workplace program, and/or comply with Department of Transportation (DOT) mandated testing regulations, including; substance abuse policy development, supervisor training, drug and alcohol testing, convenient collection sites, random selection services, FCRA compliant background screening, and Employee Assistance Programs (EAP’s). We administer nationwide corporate accounts also. We have long-term relationships with several of the largest SAMHSA Certified Laboratory systems and will establish testing and collection accounts that are the most convenient and cost-effective for you.
Drug Free Business has three in-house Certified Medical Review Officers (MRO) for review of all drug testing performed. We also offer these MRO services as a stand-alone service to other third-party administrators and individual employers. Because we are a non-profit corporation with sophisticated, unique online data management systems (GERTRD), we can offer superior services at costs much lower than other providers. We have access to thousands of drug testing collection sites nationwide. Our in-house collection facility in Bothell, WA is open 7-4 M-F. We also have in-house mobile collectors serving the Puget Sound region. Collection Site Locator
is to help employers, regardless of size, establish and maintain drug-free workplaces for the benefit of their owners, employees, families, and the communities where they do business.