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Would you rather build a fence at the top of a cliff, or park an ambulance at the bottom?

That’s why we wear seat belts. It’s why we cook our chicken thoroughly. It’s why we watch our blood pressure and cholesterol. And it’s why we create safe workplaces.

We want to prevent tragic events.

Drug and alcohol testing can be a fence OR an ambulance, though we much prefer the former. Any employer worried about workers comp claims will require a drug and alcohol test following a workplace accident. By then, though, the damage is done. Ambulance.

Or s/he can implement a random drug-testing program to reduce the chances of accidents. Fence.

Considering that 5.5% of post accident drug tests are positive, many accidents might be preventable. By comparison, pre-employment tests have a 3.7% positive rate. That makes sense, because people can prepare for that test. We see those folks in our clinic frequently, paying for their own drug tests to make sure they are clean for an upcoming test at work. We don’t like doing those tests, but we do them. And random tests, the most effective deterrent, return a 4.9% positive rate — 32% higher than pre-employment tests.

Let’s lay that out:

  • Pre-employment tests: 3.7%
  • Random Tests: 4.9%
  • Post-accident tests: 5.5%

It seems reasonable to infer that drug use plays a role in accidents. It follows that if you can reduce drug use among the workforce, you will also reduce accidents— and build a healthier workplace at the same time.

You can build a fence at the top of a cliff, or park an ambulance at the bottom. It’s hardly a new thought.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. “ -Ben Franklin.

“A little neglect may breed great mischief…for want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost.” -Ben again

“Pay me now or pay me later.” Fram Oil Filter commercial , circa 1972

The horse has left the stable. The ship has sailed. You can’t unring that bell.

Better call an ambulance.

Better yet, call InOut Labs, and we’ll help you build a fence.


Sources: 2013 Drug Testing Index, Quest Diagnostics Statistics for urine drug tests for the general workforce; Fence vs. Ambulance