Could Random Drug Testing Prevent A Nuclear Disaster?

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Nuclear Industry Drug TestingThe Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s random drug testing policy was put to the test last week at the Fermi 2 nuclear power plant outside of Frenchtown, MI as one of the plant’s employees failed a random drug test.  According to a plant spokesman, “The individual tested positive for illegal drugs during a random fitness-for-duty test and the employee’s access to the plant was immediately revoked.”  According to Viktoria Mitlyng, an NRC spokeswoman, the licensed operator’s access to the plant is suspended for at least 14 days, under federal rules for nuclear plants.  During that period, the utility has to decide whether to fire the operator or refer him to an employee assistance program for substance abuse treatment and evaluation.

In accordance with NCR Regulation 10 CFR and within compliance of 49 CFR Part 40, "Procedures for Department of Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs", employees are drug and alcohol tested on a random basis.  This is certainly a prudent move put into place by our federal government to help keep nuclear power plants safe and helps prevent potential disasters from illicit drug and alcohol users.  Just think about an employee under the influence of illegal drugs and at the controls of a nuclear power plant, it’s just unconscionable! 

What About Your Workplace?
Employers need to reflect on this situation and relate it to their industry and workplace.  Risks inherited by employees under the influence of drugs and alcohol could come from all occupations, no matter if you employ fork-lift operators, truck-drivers, construction workers, nurses, day-care workers, retail personnel or any other type of employee.  At work, everyone must be sharp and on-point at all times to help deter security and safety risks to themselves and others around them.  According to the Department of Labor, abusers cost U.S. businesses $81 billion dollars in lost production, added safety risks, increased worker’s compensation premiums, not to mention the overwhelming threat of workplace violence.

Random Testing As A Deterrent
Random drug and alcohol testing provides an additional layer of diligence and safety within a corporate drug testing program.  Random drug testing can help keep these habitual users out of your workplace by using a methodology of selecting a pre-determined pool of employees to be subjected to drug testing on a random basis.  Random selection can be done monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or yearly at a pre-determined level depending on policy, state regulations or even regulatory compliance needs.  With the use of EBI’s proprietary software RandomTrac™, we can manage your selection pool in an automated and non-discriminatory manner and provide all of the reporting for regulatory compliance needs and cost-effective administration.  EBI offers a wide variety of options when it comes to drug and alcohol testing programs, from pre-employment, random, post-accident and mobile collection options.  With vast expertise and knowledge, EBI can help you develop a drug testing program to meet your specific needs, whether lab based or instant solution.

EBI is committed to providing employers with valuable education, news and resources around background screening, drug testing, occupational healthcare and employment eligibility.  All content provided by EBI is published for the convenience of its readers and should never be deemed as legal guidance or advice.  Always consult your legal counsel for specific advice on local laws and industry regulations. 

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