Industrial and Management Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



J.L. Meyer and P. Savory (1997), “Selecting for Random Drug Testing at Union Pacific Railroad,” Interfaces, Volume 27, No. 5, pp. 58-67


Many industries have recently implemented programs to detect and deter the use of recreational drugs in the workplace. The transportation industry has received careful government attention, particularly where the safety of the public may be seriously affected by employees who use drugs. Following federal guidelines, Union Pacific Railroad first implemented a random drug-testing plan in 1990. Because the assigned jobs, shifts, and work locations of many railroad employees change frequently, defining the selection population was particularly challenging. In its continuing efforts to validate and improve this plan, Union Pacific Railroad sought an external evaluation to determine the fairness of its selection procedures. Based on our evaluation, Union Pacific Railroad improved two key aspects of its selection process. We confirmed the fairness of the modified process for selecting employees.