Industry Insights

Oral Fluid Testing Helps Prevent Marijuana in the Workplace

The differences in marijuana legalization vary from state to state and are changing the way employers handle workplace drug testing. The detection windows for THC can test positive 30 days after its initial use for chronic users with a urine analysis, and up to 90 days with a hair analysis. This leaves employers faced with complexities when determining if employees are impaired at work, or if they used at another time. Establishing a method to validate impairment in the workplace will deter employees from using in the first place and create a safer working environment. 

Early Detection Window

One method to address changes to marijuana laws in the workplace is by implementing lab-based oral fluid testing.  Lab-based oral fluid testing has a detection window of approximately 1 hour to 36 hours after use. A positive oral fluid test is effective in helping employers to prove that an employee used marijuana recently and that they may have been under the influence at work.

Oral testing is 100% observed collection, meaning it’s administered and collected in plain sight with the help of site staff. One of the critical challenges to overcome with the legalization of marijuana is determining exactly when an employee used. DISA’s vendor partner Orasure provides lab-based oral fluid testing that can determine a quick and accurate result for recent drug use. Orasure’s tests have more recent detection windows allowing employers to establish if an employee might have been impaired while at work.

 

Adapting to Policy Changes

DISA follows changes in drug testing laws closely and advises customers on any new legal requirements and gives recommendations for procedures. Depending on the state, testing positive for medical marijuana versus recreational marijuana can have different consequences. Some drug testing policies require proof of a medical marijuana prescription and allow appropriate penalties for those who are not using marijuana for approved medical reasons. In some states, testing positive for marijuana, although it may be against company policy, is not a valid reason for an employee’s termination because it’s legally available for recreational use.

Orasure states that “policies can also be drafted to ensure supervisors document signs of impairment in the workplace. Utilizing documented signs of impairment along with a positive drug test meets the requirements of any state laws pertaining to marijuana testing and workplace discipline.”

 

Why Drug Test?

Regardless of new state laws about recreational marijuana use, employees who are impaired at work are a danger to themselves and those around them. Drug use in the workplace can cause costly mistakes or injuries, resulting in a legal liability and lawsuits against the company. Workers under the influence are more harmful, less productive, and prone to making mistakes. Now more than ever before, advancements in drug testing technology enhance an employer’s ability to keep their workplace and company safe.

For more than 30 years, DISA has been a provider of workplace safety and compliance services. DISA helps companies make more informed staffing decisions by offering a broad array of industry-leading methodologies to make employee screening faster and more accurate. For more information about DISA call 1-800-752-6432 or email sales@disa.com.