What Does a Non-Negative Drug Test Result Mean?
For many employers, employee drug testing in Jackson, MS, is an essential part of the hiring process, as well as a standard procedure for current employees in the workplace. You want to ensure that your employees don’t have any issues with illegal drugs or narcotics, and drug testing is the best way to ensure that. You might assume that the results of every drug test you send to the lab will either be positive or negative. However, in some cases, you might get a “non-negative” result back for one of your employees. Before you assume that this is the same as a positive test result, keep reading to learn what non-negative really means.
Pending Further Analysis
Linguistically, it’s natural to assume that “non-negative” would just be another way of saying “positive.” But in the world of workplace drug testing, that’s actually not true. In some cases, the oral swab or urine sample may contain trace amounts of a substance; if the amount is small enough, we consider this to be within a standard margin of error for our testing processes, and we must send it on for a second round of analysis for confirmation.
So, if you get a non-negative result on an employee drug test, this doesn’t mean that they’re positive. Rather, it means that their sample is still awaiting further analysis before we can provide you with an accurate drug test result.
What Should You Do?
Many employers are uncertain about how to handle a non-negative test result for an employee since these results don’t come up too often. For jobs where safety is critical, it may be best to place the employee on leave until the final test results come back. Don’t worry—we can get those final results in just a few days, so the waiting period shouldn’t be too long. Another option would be to move the employee to a temporary position where safety is less of a concern.
For example, if you have an employee who drives a forklift in your warehouse, and they receive a non-negative result, you might be concerned about safety if they’re under the influence of drugs while performing this job. If you don’t want to place them on leave, another option would be to move them to a temporary desk job, where they’re organizing paperwork or performing another task that doesn’t put themselves or others at risk.
The Second Testing Phase
So, if “non-negative” means that the sample is awaiting further analysis, what exactly will happen during that second phase of testing? During this phase of lab testing, the swab or urine sample is closely examined for the various chemical structures and other identifiers that indicate the presence of illegal drugs. This process, known as liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, will give an accurate reading as to what drug may be present and in what quantity.
Why Not Every Sample?
You may be wondering why every sample isn’t tested in this way if the lab process is so much more accurate. Simply put, liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry is not nearly as cost-effective as the standard instant drug screening process. This means that it’s not an economical choice to have every sample tested in this way when a simple “positive” or “negative” is usually sufficient for most employers’ purposes.
If you’re looking for a reliable location for employee drug testing or DOT drug testing in Jackson, MS, contact Mobile Drug Screen, Inc., today.