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Winning with an Occupational Health Provider

Don Schilling, Corporate Occupational Health Solutions, LLC

One important reason I took the position as CEO of CorpOHS was the positive experience I had as a client. I knew firsthand the benefits a company can receive from partnering with an occupational health provider like CorpOHS.

As an entrepreneur's need for hiring employees increases, the risks associated with hiring also increase. No longer can a company depend on personal recommendations from current employees, for example. But when your business is growing you think you need to hire people fast! Without good hiring guidelines in place, such hiring frenzies can produce a negative change in your workforce. Typical symptoms: workers compensation costs increase, absenteeism costs increase, and productivity decreases.

The change in the workforce atmosphere begins to affect the company's core employees. Soon they are unhappy, and a company hits an all-time low in morale. So what started out as a program to cover increased demands for products or services has just had the complete opposite effect. Customers begin to notice.

An occupational health medical provider can help companies set up efficient, effective hiring and staff management practices. The basic recommendation an occupational health medical provider typically makes is to implement a drug-testing program, which often has the biggest impact on the company. Such a program can save money because both absenteeism and work-related injuries will be reduced. That means productivity will increase.

Some states allow companies themselves to provide and manage drug-testing programs on site. But my experience is that it's wise to manage those services externally by working with a dedicated occupational health provider. That approach establishes an independent barrier that prevents unnecessary legal exposure. Even better, our experience at CorpOHS has shown that the process is essentially straightforward. A company answers some serious questions about drug testing, especially about why management wants to implement a program.

Here are some of the more common reasons to test:

  • Pre-placement: when a person is hired
  • Post accident: after accident or injury occurs at the worksite
  • Random: from time to time
  • Reasonable suspicion or for cause: when on-the-job use of drugs or alcohol is suspected.

Implementation of any of these aspects of a drug-testing program requires staff training, which is led by the outside provider.

The next major step is developing a company's position on a positive drug test. In other words, what will a company do with an employee who tests positive? This decision requires careful consideration. It is my experience that the best choice is to have a "zero tolerance" policy because it is easy for employees to understand and easy for management to oversee. There is never a question. Prospective employees who test positive are not hired. Current employees are terminated. Key point: The entrepreneur and management team need to stick to the decision on this policy and be consistent in implementing it. Making exceptions exposes the company to legal action.

In addition to a drug-testing program at my previous company, CorpOHS proved to have a wealth of knowledge for many issues relating to regulatory standards, safety, and health issues in general. Every program implemented improved the safety of our workplace and the health of our employees.

Having been CEO of CorpOHS for six years now, I have seen many other companies recognize the benefits of partnering with an occupational health provider. It is rewarding to know that new clients recognize entering into a relationship with CorpOHS is a "win win" for everyone concerned, especially the client's employees.

© 2007 Don Schilling. All rights reserved.

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