Employee Drug Use Reaches 12-year High
The positive drug test rate for the U.S. workforce was 4.2 percent in 2016, according to the Drug Testing Index (DTI) released by Quest Diagnostics. This represents a 5 percent increase over the positive rate in 2015, and the largest single-year positive rate since 2004.
The DTI analyzed over 10 million workforce drug test results from 2016 and categorized employees into three categories, including employees with federally mandated drug tests, the general workforce and the combined U.S. workforce. Here are additional details about the DTI’s findings for specific drug types:
- Marijuana—The positive test rate for marijuana increased nearly 75 percent in oral fluid testing, which is used in the general workforce. Federally mandated marijuana tests only utilize urine tests, and the positive test rate increased 10 percent in 2016.
- Cocaine—Positive test rates for cocaine in post-accident drug tests were more than twice as high as pre-employment screenings.
- Amphetamines—Positive test rates for amphetamines have risen 64 percent between 2012 and 2016 for the general workforce. Quest Diagnostics attributes this increase to the prevalence of prescription drugs, including Adderall.
In order to create a safe, productive workplace, you need to watch out for potential drug use at your business.
Political Discussions Hurt Job Performance
Many people can get worked up about politics, but a new survey from the American Psychological Association (APA) has shown that political discussions in the workplace can have a big impact on your employees’ job performance.
The APA surveyed U.S. employees about the impact of political discussions after the 2016 presidential election, and found that these discussions have a detrimental effect on job performance and relationships with co-workers. The survey found that 40 percent of employees have experienced a negative outcome following a workplace political discussion, such as reduced productivity or difficulty getting work done. Additionally, 24 percent of employees said they avoid some co-workers solely because of their politics.
According to the APA, social networks and constant news reports can cause individuals to adopt an “us versus them” political mentality, which can lead to conflict. As a result, it’s important to encourage respect, collaboration and courtesy in your workplace to ensure that your employees feel supported and remain productive.
New Executive Order Aims to Improve Cyber Security
President Donald Trump recently signed an executive order to improve the country’s cyber security and protect key infrastructure from cyber attacks. The order also emphasized the importance of strengthening the cyber security of federal agencies. According to a survey from Thales Group, a cyber security company, 34 percent of federal agencies experienced a data breach in the last year, and 95 percent of agencies consider themselves vulnerable to cyber attacks.
The executive order did not create any ongoing cyber security requirements, but instead laid out goals to assess the current state of cyber defenses and develop deterrence strategies. Here are some of the requirements of the executive order:
- Federal agencies must draft reports on their ability to defend themselves against cyber threats.
- The departments of Energy and Homeland Security must assess potential vulnerabilities to the country’s electrical grids. The executive order specifically mentions that prolonged power outages could pose a threat to national security or damage the economy.
- Various federal agencies must review the cyber defense plans of U.S. allies in order to cooperate during international cyber attacks.
Apple Creates $1 Billion Fund to Support U.S. Manufacturing
Apple, the world’s largest technology company, recently announced that it will create a $1 billion fund to support U.S. manufacturing. Although the company is based in the United States, it has faced criticism for outsourcing most of its manufacturing and taking jobs from U.S. workers.
Apple’s CEO stated that one goal of the fund was to support smart manufacturing and to create a ripple effect in industries that support smart manufacturers. For more information on the manufacturing fund, visit Apple’s website.
DID YOU KNOW?
A U.S. Court of Appeals recently barred the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from requiring recreational drone owners to register their unmanned aircraft. The FAA had originally required recreational drones to be registered in order to help identify aircraft that posed a hazard, and to pass on safety information to operators. However, the court’s ruling will not impact the use of drones for commercial use, as these aircraft must still be registered with the FAA before they are used.