Requirement to Test
There is growing interest in work place drug and alcohol testing because if a person’s health suffers or they are working under the influence of drink or drugs, this can become a workplace issue. Employers have a duty to ensure safety as per requirements set out by the HSE. A person under the influence of drugs or alcohol could pose a safety risk to themselves or others.
Drugs can have multiple effects on the body and these effects can often be long lasting after the drug is taken .It is an offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 for any person knowingly to permit the production, supply or use of controlled substances on their premises. Employers should also be aware of duties under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Transport and Works Act 1992. Certain rail, tram and other guided transport system workers must not be unfit through drugs while working on the system.
Employers wishing to undertake such testing should have a clear objective and should seek guidance on their contracts of employment and introduce a specific drug and alcohol policy which sets out all the procedures, guidance and advice to ensure clarification for all concerned.
Drug & Alcohol testing can be conducted in a number of ways and typically a urine or saliva analysis are the most common and for Alcohol testing this could be a breath analysis. This often depends on facilities available on site and how a chain of custody of samples can be maintained. Some test criteria may also require a full laboratory analysis. Also it is possible to carry out hair sampling particularly where long term substance abuse is suspected or needs to be investigated as traces of drugs and alcohol can remain for a number of months.
We are happy to advise on methods suitable for your needs or to meet certain specified criteria by employing authorities.
The duration of test is method dependant but will include a questionnaire and consent procedure and try to establish any prescription or over the counter medication being used. Results are quite often given as an immediate indication, the whole process taking no more than approx. 20 minutes
As part of the process the Practitioner will gather both personal and medical information which is kept confidential. All such records will be kept off site. An Employee may consent to records being viewed or disclosed to a third party if necessary.
A summary of results with any work place recommendations will be provided where appropriate to assist the employee and employer to manage any issues and make any reasonable adjustments that may be suggested.