Employer may have regular or routine drug test for their forklift operators to ensure that the workplace is drug-free. They have a big reason to do that. Drug addiction interferes with forklift operators mind increasing the chance of committing mistakes that could lead to serious accidents and fatality. Any company would not want to have such bad potatoes in the workforce. These people could influence others in the workplace to do drugs. It is a big legal responsibility. The employer has the responsibility to keep and maintain health and safety in the workplace.
But how often does drug testing is conducted to ensure forklift operators are not using drugs? The company will decide when to test the operators for drugs. Since there is no OSHA standard or federal law requiring for regular testing, the employer will have the full discretion when.
Searching for addicts from the workforce is a sensitive issue that should be carefully handled to avoid people from being discriminated. Hence, it should be ideal for employers to have formal written company policy. Commonly, drug testing is stipulated in the employer-employee contract, stated in the company policy handbook or acknowledged in collective agreement of the labor union (if union exists).
Occasions When Forklift Operators Get Tested
Employer always seeks productive and safe workforce driving the forklifts and they can achieve this if they can maintain addiction-free personnel. Circumstances may arise in which operators may have to submit themselves for testing, but during when the testing is performed? Here are instances:
- Pre-employment drug screening will be required prior to hiring a forklift driver to stop drug addict from entering the company. Driving heavy machineries is a serious business for the company utilizing them. Employers don’t want to hire driver that could become a big liability. Pre-employment drug testing is a customary and usual requirement. It is a part of the application process.
- Drug testing is carried out if employer has established sufficient and reasonable grounds that the forklift drivers are exhibiting signs of influence of drugs.
- Another instance is the random drug testing. It is obviously unannounced. It is usually conducted to a random population of the workforce. A state may have a federal law that does not allow employers to perform random drug testing for the employees. If you are a company, check first if you are permitted to conduct such testing.
- During post-accident investigation. If you become involved in a forklift accident or even a close call, your employer may send you for a post accident drug test. This is to determine if drugs is contributory factor of the occurrence of such accident. Read this OSHA tracking of workplace accidents and illnesses.
- Former forklift drivers who reapply for the job is subjected to testing. They will undergo such test the same way as the pre-employment testing for newcomers.
- During follow-up. There might be some instances that employer may give a second opportunity to employee who has violated such policy to return for work after proving he has gone through such drug rehabilitation program for a required period of time.
How Frequent is the Drug Testing
The frequency of drug testing will depend on the employment contract you’ve signed or what was indicated in the workplace policy. Since you are manning a very important piece of heavy equipment, forklift operators may undergo drug testing more frequent than other personnel.
Some employers conduct testing once or twice a year but there is not limit how should it be done. In some instances, companies may perform testing at a regular interval of every three months to ensure no bad potatoes are manning the forklifts.
You have the absolute right to refuse drug test. But the company has the obligation to maintain drug-free workplace. If you failed or did not submit yourself, the company has the power and right to fire you from your job especially when related provision is stipulated in written company policy.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Drug Test
- Improving Health and Safety in the Workplace. It is the most important motive why employer performs drug testing in the workplace. They want those users out in the workplace as they post serious peril because driving forklift is not as easy as it looks due to the fact the machine weighs thousands of pounds, when they involve in an accident the outcome if often a horror story that you would not want to hear.
- It Decreases the Chance of Employer’s Legal Obligation. When an accident occurred in the workplace and during the investigation, it was found out the involved worker is under the influence of drug, the employer may face serious legal liability. The drug testing program therefore serves as first line defense for employer to ward off bad operators from driving heavy equipment life forklifts.
- It Helps Workers to Handle their Drug Addiction. The drug testing program is not just to filter out those drug users, but it also helps those people who tested positive for drugs to cope up with their addiction. Some companies have assistance program to help those troubled workers deal with their personal problems by giving them professional counseling.
- It Discourages Workers From Trying It. Employees don’t want to lose their jobs. By implementing a stringent policy against drugs in the workplace, the employees will feel obliged to follow the policy because of the fear of losing the job.
- Cost of maintaining and implementing drug testing program could be costly. It could be expensive maintaining such program but the importance of it outweighs the cost. The cost of drug testing per worker is ranging around from $30-$40.
- Employee May File Dismissal Case Against the Company. After conclusive evidence has been established, though it may sound unfair, the company has the right to fire an employee from his job. The employee may find this opportunity to file a suit against his former employer for wrongful dismissal. Though, the company may win the case later on, but the damage of had been done. It comes with a fee to hire an attorney and the downtime needed to attend the case at court.
To Conclude This
Forklift operators play a very important role in the development of the company. Without them working properly, production could be halted, impeding the production and profit for the company. But the company has to filter people. Forklift operator who uses drugs poses a serious danger to himself and to other people him in the workplace. They tend to be less productive, cause accident, pose violence and often skip work. These are the reasons why company should implement an effective drug testing policy for forklift operators.
Drug testing doesn’t have to freak you out if you are clean. If this worries you, then, there’s a good chance that you use drugs. Drug test will be a tool to refrain you from using drugs. It is a deterrent that will ensure more productive workers.