Drug testing services aren't anything new, but mobile drug testing certainly is. A Cleveland, Ohio couple started the first drug testing to-go service in Northeast Ohio as more Ohio companies than ever are requiring employee drug tests.
Karen Kitchen and her husband own and operate USA Mobile Drug Testing of Cleveland, and the list of clients ranges from tree removal companies and day care facilities to schools and house cleaning services.
"It can be anything from landscaping to attorneys, to accountants. Certainly there is a whole broad range," says Karen Kitchen.
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Traditionally, employees would travel to a drug testing lab. That meant lost work time and liability if the employee was in an accident on their way to or from the testing site.
The idea appealed to employers for numerous reasons. For Ron Guenther of Chemtron Corp. in Avon Lake, Ohio, it was convenience.
"Response time, liability, rapid results, so we were able to get a one-stop shop," Guenther said of his decision to go with USAMDT.
"It provides the element of surprise. The employee doesn't know that we are coming," says Kitchen.
At USAMDT, only one predetermined person on staff will know when testing is to occur. Guenther likes it that way.
"We don't want to give advance notice. If someone is going to steal from you, they are not going to give warning. If someone is going to be drug tested, I would rather they admit that they are positive so that we can get them into a program and help rehab them before I spend the cost and find out they are and have to deal with it later," says Guenther.
"As soon as they arrive for testing, our employee is brought into a room so they don't have the time or ability to use a masking agent," Guenther says.
Ohio has a drug-free workplace program regulating testing. Employers who drug test must have employee assistance program resources, employee education and supervisor training.
It's also important to note that employers who establish drug testing programs can qualify for a discount on their workers' compensation insurance premiums.
However, they must follow state's rules to get their discount.
In addition to testing, the company also helps train supervisors to spot signs of drug abuse, how to have a conversation with the employee and how to comply with company's drug policy. This is where mobile testing can offer additional benefits, Kitchen points out.
"It's a big safety hazard for a supervisor to get in a car with a person and drive them to a facility. If you can keep them here in a controlled environment, you don't have the extended liability of someone getting in the car with them and who knows what that reaction might be," Kitchen explains.
The increase in workplace drug testing has not gone unnoticed. The American Civil Liberties Union Law Reform Project is working to halt the expansion of random testing programs, particularly in the workplace.