Iowa has now come onboard and finally passed a law to allow pre-employment drug testing with hair. Urine, blood and oral fluids remain effective ways to test for drug use. But in specific circumstances, hair testing can better identify drug users who present risks to the workplace because it can detect usage for the past 90 days and can identify the presence of difficult-to-detect substances.
Hair testing is also non-invasive and since hair samples can’t be manipulated or diluted, it’s more difficult for someone to cheat the test.
Industries That Utilize Hair Testing
Although workplace drug testing is now pretty common; it’s especially important in industries where safety is a major concern. Our vendor partner, Psychemedics Corporation, the world’s leading and largest provider of hair drug testing, notes that transportation, auto manufacturing, oil and gas, food, and gaming are just a few industries that have benefited from using hair samples. These companies
“Drug users can impact workforce safety and can cost your company in many ways,” said Richard Clay, Vice-President of National Accounts at Psychemedics. “Studies show that an employee’s behavior, performance and attitude are affected when they have substance abuse problems; unfortunately, that behavior usually impacts colleagues as well. Thousands of organizations have partnered with Psychemedics to build a drug-free environment and tackle challenges such as job site safety and increased healthcare costs.”
Push for new mandated guidelines
In 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed developing federal guidelines for hair drug testing. But that effort has stalled. Now several lawmakers are encouraging HHS to move forward with issuing the new guideline, including a group of Senators who believe the delay is keeping the Department of Transportation from approving the drug testing method for truck drivers. At the end of 2017, seven members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration expressing their support for allowing a group of carriers to begin drug testing drivers using hair samples – but only after HHS establishes guidelines.
The Trucking Alliance and the American Trucking Associations have also been trying to convince Congress to pass legislation that would substitute hair testing for urinalysis as the standard for drug testing; a proposal that is gaining support from some lawmakers.
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About DISA Global Solutions
Founded in 1986, DISA is the industry-leading provider of employee screening and compliance services. Headquartered in Houston, with more than 35 offices throughout the U.S. and Canada, DISA’s comprehensive scope of services includes drug and alcohol testing, background screening, occupational health, and transportation compliance. DISA assists employers in making informed staffing decisions while building a culture of safety in their workplace.