Manufacturing Today - July 2017 - 19

STEVE SAWIN | COLUMN BY

from cannabis lasts only up to four
hours if smoked, eight if eaten.
"If the issue is 'I can't find good
people because nobody will pass a
drug test,' then there has to be some
mechanism to get beyond that, which
to me means you've got to have some
system that doesn't detect trace concentrations that aren't significant,"
Phifer says.
In summary:
1. Consider the nature of the work
being performed. If your state allows random drug testing, it may
be worthwhile for those in safety-sensitive positions.
2. Craft a drug use policy that clearly states your expectations and
plans for enforcement. Specify
whether marijuana is included.
3. Consider testing employees for
impairment, not blood or urine
concentrations. mt

Steve Sawin is president and CEO of Operon Resource Management. Visit www.operonresource.com for more information.

JULY 2017 manufacturing-today.com

19

E MPLOYEES

for that matter," he says. "It's not reliable above about 85 percent." Spit is
typically between 90 and 95 percent
effective in determining exposure, depending on the methods used.
Another wrinkle is that the same
blood concentration of marijuana
doesn't cause the same impairment
for each person, thanks to individual
differences in metabolism. "In some
people a very small concentration
might result in impairment," he says.
"In other people, ten times that much
may not show impairment."
He argues that drug testing is commonplace in part because of the drug
testing industry's tactics and lobbying
in Washington. "Of course they have a
clear incentive to have everybody doing drug testing as much as possible,"
he says.
Although it's not uncommon to
hear about failed drug tests, "I don't
hear manufacturers saying people are
coming to work stoned," Phifer says.
That's probably because impairment

B UY AMERICAN

too many shots of whiskey at a Saturday night wedding. He will probably
be fine on Monday, let alone two and
a half weeks later, but a man who used
marijuana instead could get busted in
either of these scenarios depending
on the type of testing used.
"What really makes a lot more
sense to me is impairment testing, so
that's what I've really started to pursue, and I'm trying to convince some
of these manufacturers that this is
something they should be looking
at," Phifer says.
Impairment testing is a set of tests
like police officers use when they pull
over drivers under suspicion that
they're under the influence of alcohol.
Perhaps private-sector employees
should receive training to recognize
impairment, he says. It's more effective and accurate than drug testing to
determine how well an employee can
perform a job function, he says.
"Drug testing has way too many false
positives, way too many false negatives


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - July 2017

Table of Contents
Manufacturing Today - July 2017 - Cover1
Manufacturing Today - July 2017 - Cover2
Manufacturing Today - July 2017 - 1
Manufacturing Today - July 2017 - Table of Contents
Manufacturing Today - July 2017 - 3
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Manufacturing Today - July 2017 - 104
Manufacturing Today - July 2017 - Cover3
Manufacturing Today - July 2017 - Cover4
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