DOT Four-Opioid Panel Testing Rule Finalized

The Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) made a final ruling November 10th on the proposed rules to include opioids in their drug testing panel for safety-sensitive employees. Originally proposed nearly a year ago, the ruling is now final and will go into effect on January 1, 2018. Continue reading “DOT Four-Opioid Panel Testing Rule Finalized” »

Drug Free Worker Has Moved!

Thanks for your interest in reading our blog, Drug Free Worker!

We have migrated our blog and incorporated it with our main website, http://kansascity-north.arcpointlabs.com/. Please navigate to http://kansascity-north.arcpointlabs.com/drug-free-worker/ to read our latest posts and keep up-to-date with the latest on workplace drug testing!

Illicit Drug Use Up Among the US Workforce

Recent statistics suggest that more American workers are being exposed for illicit drug use. In fact, numbers suggest that the amount of people engaged in illicit drug use has risen over the last two years. This comes after statistics regarding illicit drug use had shown a decline for nearly 25 years.

Here’s what Kansas City employers need to know about the uptick in workplace drug use, courtesy of The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index (DTI).

Continue reading “Illicit Drug Use Up Among the US Workforce” »

What is the Drug-Free Workplace Act & Who Does it Affect?

As a business owner, you may feel that you don’t have much need to worry about employee drug use in the workplace. Small business owners often think “I know and trust my employees!” and “None of my hires would risk drug use!”

But small businesses and other companies that don’t have drug-free workplace programs in place actually attract the workers who are most likely to abuse the owner’s trust and use drugs and alcohol. In fact, 44% of full-time employed drug users and 36% of heavy drinkers work for businesses with 24 or fewer employees, while 43% of drug users and 47% of heavy drinkers work for companies with 25 – 499 employees.

These numbers should have any business owner realizing the benefits of implementing a drug-free workplace program. But did you know that some workplaces are required to have a drug-free program in place? Read more about the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 to see if it applies to you!

Continue reading “What is the Drug-Free Workplace Act & Who Does it Affect?” »

What to Do When You Suspect an Employee of Off-the-Clock Drug Use

As an employer, you may recognize some telltale signs that could indicate an employee’s off-the-clock drug use, including a pattern of increased irritability, slurred speech, improper appearance, shakiness, low productivity, poor performance, frequent sick days or lateness, and uncooperative or argumentative behavior. But because it is such a delicate, personal issue, it can be hard to move forward when you suspect an employee of drug use outside of the workplace.

Still, it’s important that you take certain steps when you feel your employee’s outside drug use is threatening their health or affecting their job performance, since ignoring the problem could lead to further problems. In addition to the physical, emotional, and mental dangers of drug use, an addicted employee can cost your company time, money, and clients or customers — plus, depending on the severity of their drug use and its effects on their abilities, it could lead to workplace injuries. Don’t further complicate the situation or jeopardize your company by ignoring your suspicions.

Continue reading “What to Do When You Suspect an Employee of Off-the-Clock Drug Use” »

How to Address Absenteeism

In our last post, A Modern Menace – Absenteeism at Work, we noted the causes and consequences of prolonged or frequent absenteeism in the workplace. Here is a little more encouragement for you to check on the absentee rate at your workplace. Then, we share some advice for managing absent employees.

Loss from Absenteeism: In Dollars

A recently conducted study pointed out the cost incurred by different occupations as a result of absenteeism and the consequent loss in productivity. It showed that $24.2 million worth of productivity was lost due to absenteeism in the professional occupations excluding nurses and teachers. Not only is productivity reduced due to absenteeism, but the company morale also suffers- the organizational goals can never be fulfilled if the rate of absence is high.

empty desk absenteeism

How to deal with absenteeism?

It is the duty of the management to monitor absences and give the employees verbal or written warnings. It is important that the management address and  enforce certain rules to curb absence of the employees. Remember that the management must keep the dialogue with the employees respectful and understanding. Even after holding the employees accountable for their absence does not mitigate the problem, then formal and severe steps should be taken.

Keeping a balanced work environment is also key. The workplace should be challenging, but should not put extreme pressure on the employees. Weekly stress relieving programs may be arranged by management. Consider weekly yoga classes or social hours.

The relationship between the superiors and the subordinates must be healthy and happy. This will inevitably boost productivity of the company. The job must be such that the employees are challenged and thereby excel in order to boost up their morale. A salary hike or good financial assistance to the employees also keeps them interested in the job.

Managing and Preventing Absenteeism

Occasional absenteeism at work is inevitable- employees may really be ill or they might have prior commitments. However, a serious absentee problem may indicate a number of problems. The best thing that an organization can do in order to reduce absenteeism is to devise a strategy that will monitor and respond to absenteeism.

Your company’s policies should be outlined and explained to the employees. Since we know that drug use is connected to absenteeism, your policy should address drug use. Your drug and alcohol policy should include testing guidelines. Contact ARCpoint Labs of Lawrence for information about drug testing and employment policies.

A Modern Menace – Absenteeism at Work

Absenteeism: regular or intermittent absence from work which may either be habitual or intentional

A major problem for any company or business, absenteeism keeps employees out of the workplace and lowers productivity.  Although every employer anticipates that employees will miss a certain number of workdays, excessive absenteeism at work is a major issue.

Absenteeism results in lower productivity and, consequently, financial losses. If an employee leaves early from work regularly, this also falls under the category of absenteeism. The task of correction of absenteeism belongs to the management of the organization. The company policies regarding repeated absenteeism should be found in the employee handbook.

absenteeism at work

Causes of Absenteeism

  • Length of employment and the employee’s attitude:

Surveys have pointed out that the employees who are associated with a particular company for a considerable period of time are less likely to be found absent repeatedly. Also, senior employees who command higher positions within the company hierarchy also take very minimum unplanned leaves. The level of commitment of an employee can be well gauged from his or her attitude. Disengagement is also directly related to absenteeism.

  • Workplace relationships:

There are many instances when the employees site poor relations with superiors as a reason for choosing to stay away from work. Employees who are harassed by superiors or feel resentment towards their co workers may skip work to avoid uncomfortable or humiliating situations.

  • Depression and work pressure:

Absenteeism rate shoots up proportionately with rising work pressure- there are many employees who want to avoid the stressful situations of difficult meetings. Depression arising out of drug abuse or alcoholism is another major cause of absenteeism.

  • Illness and injuries:

The most common cause for absenteeism is injuries and illnesses- recurring medical conditions like asthma, back pain and musculoskeletal injuries are causes of both long and short term absences.

  • Job satisfaction:

Absenteeism may also result from lower job satisfaction. There are many people who like to do the same thing over and over for a long time while others get easily bored with the same work and same atmosphere. Thus such people search for other jobs or indulge in absenteeism to break the monotony. Thus the level of job satisfaction plays a key role in employee absenteeism at work.

Learn How to Address Absenteeism

Follow the Drug Free Worker blog for the ways to deal with Absenteeism. Our next post will explain how employers can best manage and prevent absenteeism. Contact ARCpoint Labs of Lawrence for more information about drug testing and employment.

K2 in the Workplace Goes Undetected

employees at work Most employers and court officers do routine drug testing to ensure those they are supervising are staying drug free and healthy. However, one drug that has become increasingly common over the past few years is flying under the radar. That’s right. K2 synthetic marijuana is not usually detected on a traditional drug test. Read on to find out more.

What is K2?

K2 is a synthetic drug marketed as an “herbal incense,” but it is filled with harmful chemicals such as JWH-018 and JWH-073 that act in the place of THC that is found in marijuana. As more and more people learned about the substance (also known as Spice and fake pot), it grew in popularity as a legal alternative to marijuana. Many states moved quickly to ban the substance that was frequently being sold in convenience stores and gas stations across the nation. However, it is still accessible and is still being widely used.

Testing

Employers and probation officers typically use a Basic 5 Panel UA to test for drug use. However, this test does not detect synthetic substances like K2. It does detect:

  1. THC

  2. Cocaine

  3. Methamphetamine

  4. Amphetamine

  5. Opiates

Since K2 does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it uses other chemicals to mimic the effects of THC by acting on the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. That’s why the drug likely won’t show up on these multi-drug test kits.

Signs and Symptoms

More and more people are using it as an alternative to marijuana. Aside from its harmful chemicals, it can cause serious reactions. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of someone who may be using K2. As our previous blog post about the drug mentions, ingredients are up to 10 times more active than THC, according to its creator John Huffman. Mixing in the synthetic cannabinoids can cause severe side effects including:

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Seizures

  • Increased heart rate

  • Hallucinations

  • Dizziness

  • Red eyes

Employers and court officers have an obligation to keep our communities safe. Understand the symptoms and risks behind this drug. ARCpoint realizes that the dangers of using K2 are serious and now offers testing for this synthetic marijuana. Find a location near you for more information on our K2 screening services. Call (816) 875-9301 for more information.

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