Kimray Cuts Accidents, Medical Insurance Costs after Drug Testing

THE JOURNAL RECORD, June 15, 1989 | Go to article overview

Kimray Cuts Accidents, Medical Insurance Costs after Drug Testing


Employee drug screening is new to business and industry and is still hotly contested - mostly by employees. Yet,since St. Anthony Hospital began its drug abuse screening program for businesses two years ago, almost 100 companies have signed up.

"We look at drug screening as the moral thing to do for our employes," said Tom Hill, executive vice president of Kimray Inc. "It is our duty and we are committed to drug screening."

"We feel very confident in St. Anthony Hospital's program," Hill said. "When they tell us a test is positive, we believe it. As a business owner, you have to know that it's the best evaluation possible. Because when you give the employee the results with the news that they no longer have a job, and they tell you they have a family to support, you have to be very confident."

Oilfield valves are manufactured by Kimray employees to control pressure and liquid levels in the vessels of oil wells. The company operates a foundry in Blackwell and the Oklahoma City plant houses a machine shop and facilities for assembly and shipping to all parts of the world. Garman Kimmell started the company in 1948 and the company continues to be privately owned.

Why, then, would this company turn to screening its employees for drugs? Especially during the oil business' slump, knowing that employee drug screening isn't free?

"We thought there might be some isolated cases of employee drug abuse," Hill said. "Concern had been shown by other employees and families. That's when we checked to see about drug screening to clean up the work place."

Kimray announced that random, company-wide drug abuse testing would be implemented on a permanent basis, several times a year, and pre-employment testing would immediately begin.

Employees were given a grace period of a couple months before the first screening. The company offered to pay for rehabilitation if the employee would admit that they had a problem prior to the screening. Even today, Kimray maintains this policy.

When the company actually did the testing, employees were surprised. Hill said they wanted their employees, most of whom have worked for Kimray 10 to 15 years, to know that they weren't trying to trick them.

The second unannounced screening took place about six months later and was more convenient because the St. …

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