BP Sees Success with Its Strict Drug-Test Program

BP’s Texas City oil refinery has pioneered a new employee drug-testing program known as VECTOR (for Vendor Employer Compliance Testing Organization). Recognizing that failing to identify and screen out illicit drug users results in high costs and low productivity, the refinery started a program in 2007 that required contractors to pass a hair-based drug test before they were approved to enter the plant.

The program continued and became well known, the number of contractors testing positive for drugs steadily declined, says BP. In 2011, the Texas City location reported its lowest drug positive rates ever and one of its best incident rates ever. Now the site has joined forces with Psychemedics Corporation, a leading drug-testing company that uses hair to detect drug use.

VECTOR equips users with information technology resources. Creators say this reduces costs and eliminates unnecessary testing by providing a central resource of the status of the individuals who require a drug test within the industry. Site leaders can manage drug screen programs without a middle person involved.

According to Psychemedics, a typical hair test identifies drug use for months, while urinalysis typically detects only drug use from the prior few days or hours. Also, users are less able to beat the system by abstaining from drug use in the days leading to the test or by adulterating or tampering with the test. When BP first made the switch to hair testing the positive rate for Texas City contractors rose from 4 percent to 8.9 percent.