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I just heard a story about performance testing on the Canadian
Broadcasting Corp's "As It Happens" radio news program.

------story summary---------

A company called Performance Factors, Inc.  offers a product called
"Factor 1000". It is a software/hardware combination that runs on a
IBM-style PC. The hardware is a special control panel.

The system tests hand-eye coordination with a type of video game.
The test consists of using a joy stick to center and recenter a
moving cursor. Individuals are compared to their base-line performance,
so they are competing against themselves.

The system tests fitness-for-task, not lifestyle. It is nondiagnostic;
that is, it does not tell if the cause of poor performance is
illicit drugs, alcohol, stress, fatigue, or illness, etc.

It is proactive; that is, it is typically used every morning, telling
who is ready for work. It is typically used for production workers
such as drivers.

At one petroleum distributor who uses the system accidents and workers
compensation claims are down by 60%.

--------end of summary--------
(my comments)

The system is more comprehensive that urine testing because it can be
used every day and test what counts, performance. Thus, it should save
the employers money.

The system better respects the privacy of workers because it only
tests their ability to do their job. In contrast, a urine test is used
to check-up on an employee's off-the-job activities and can be
used to check for such things as preganancy.

Of course, if the employer wants to be a Drug War vigilante, urine
testing is still best.

******************************* Article Separation *****************************

From: manning@cco.caltech.edu (Evan Marshall Manning)
Date: 19 Feb 92 18:24:26 GMT
Newsgroups: talk.politics.drugs
Subject: Article on Impairment testing in LA Times

Today's (Feb 19th, 1992) _Los_Angeles_Times_ has a pretty good
article on impairment testing on page A5, all interested should find
a copy.

The article appears under the rubric of "National Perspective" and
"Workplace".  It includes photos of Factor 1000 in use, and is
entitled, "Computer Skill Test Helps Detect Drug Use; Employees'
union, others say ont-the-spot performance drill is more effective,
less intrusive than urinalysis."

The worst things about the article are that it only mentions one
brand of impairment tester, leading me to suspect that the artcle
was prompted by Performance Factors' PR dept., and that it doesn't
mention conflicts of interest with urinalysis testers pushing their
services.  (Did anyone else notice articles about a week ago with
statistics of what percent of tested workers had tested positive in
1991, and containing quotes from the head of a testing company
saying that he was very concerned?  I thought he'd probably be even
more concerned if there were fewer positives and his services were
no longer wanted...)