Drug testing has become a standard procedure for staffing agencies and their clients to ensure a safe and drug-free workplace. Whether you’re a staffing agency seeking reliable drug testing services for your candidates or an employee looking to understand the process better, this comprehensive guide will provide valuable insights into drug testing procedures, types of tests, and best practices.

Understanding the Importance of Drug Testing

  1. Workplace Safety: The primary objective of drug testing in the workplace is to maintain a safe and secure environment. Employees under the influence of drugs can pose risks to themselves and others.
  2. Legal Compliance: Many industries, especially those in safety-sensitive roles such as transportation, healthcare, and manufacturing, are subject to federal regulations that mandate drug testing.
  3. Employee Productivity: Drug testing can help identify and deter drug abuse, which can lead to reduced productivity and absenteeism.

Types of Drug Tests

Staffing agencies and employers may use different types of drug tests based on their specific needs:

  1. Urine Drug Tests: These are the most common and cost-effective tests. They can detect a wide range of drugs and are suitable for pre-employment and random testing.
  2. Oral Fluid Tests (Saliva Tests): These tests are non-invasive and offer quick results, making them suitable for on-site testing or post-incident screening.
  3. Hair Follicle Tests: Hair tests provide a longer detection window, often covering several months, and are ideal for detecting chronic drug use.
  4. Blood Tests: These tests offer high accuracy but are generally reserved for specific situations, such as accident investigations or medical purposes.
  5. Breath Alcohol Tests (Breathalyzers): These tests measure alcohol levels in the breath and are commonly used for alcohol detection.

How Staffing Agencies Conduct Drug Testing

Here’s a step-by-step overview of how staffing agencies typically conduct drug testing:

  1. Job Offer and Consent: Candidates are informed about the drug test requirement and asked to provide their consent.
  2. Scheduling the Test: The staffing agency schedules the test at a designated facility, providing candidates with all necessary details.
  3. Sample Collection: A trained technician collects the sample in a secure and private environment, often with observed collection to prevent tampering.
  4. Chain of Custody: A chain of custody form is used to maintain the sample’s integrity during handling and transportation.
  5. Laboratory Testing: The urine or other samples are sent to a certified laboratory for analysis.
  6. Results Reporting: Once the laboratory completes the analysis, the staffing agency informs the candidate of the results.
  7. Employment Determination: Based on agency policies and test results, candidates are either cleared for employment or disqualified from the position.

Confidentiality and Legal Considerations

Staffing agencies must maintain strict confidentiality regarding drug test results to protect candidates’ privacy. Moreover, understanding local and federal laws governing drug testing is crucial. Consult with legal experts or familiarize yourself with relevant regulations in your area to ensure compliance.


For staffing agencies and employees alike, drug testing is a vital component of maintaining a safe and drug-free workplace. By understanding the importance of drug testing, the various types of tests available, and the testing process itself, both parties can navigate this aspect of employment with confidence. Prioritizing workplace safety and legal compliance benefits everyone involved and contributes to a healthier, more productive work environment.