Drug & Alcohol Screening to detect substance abuse and misuse in the workplace
Wright Medics undertake Drug & Alcohol Screening on both an ‘ad hoc’ and ongoing contractual basis for Clients (including major Construction/Processing Sites) throughout the U.K. As part of our drug and alcohol screening services in the workplace, Wright Medics also offer advice and assistance to you on how you can best implement your substance abuse or misuse policy.
Did you know that 90% cent of Human Resource Directors from top UK organisations believe that alcohol consumption was an issue for their organisation. The majority of those polled indicated that alcohol was a minor problem, but 17% believed that is was a major problem resulting in a combination of problems ranging from: Loss of productivity and poor performance / Lateness / Safety concerns / Negative effect on team morale and employee relations / Bad behaviour or poor discipline and Adverse effect on company image and customer relations.
As things currently stand, workplace drug and alcohol testing is not a legal requirement. However both employers and employees owe to themselves, their colleagues and others a legal duty of care not forgetting the affect such abuse can have on a businesses’ reputation, performance and safety. Fundamental to the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974, is the employers legal duty to ensure a safe place of work and safe systems of work for their staff / workforce. With regards to the potential for Drug and or Alcohol misuse, it therefore makes sense to set a framework of rules with clear expectations concerning arriving at work under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and likewise the use of such substances whilst at work – and the actions that could result.
Employer Substance Abuse or Misuse Policy
Most employers in the UK now operate some sort of Substance Abuse or Misuse Policy, with the vast majority of construction and large processing facilities requiring all operatives and in some cases, even visitors to those sites to undertake mandatory Drug and or Alcohol Screening in order to obtain entry to the site/s.
In addition to mandatory testing prior to first entry, many have additional ‘random’ or ‘with cause’ testing.
It is important to consider that whilst it is not a legal requirement undertake workplace based drug and alcohol screening, if an employer knowingly allows an employee to be in the workplace whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they could be prosecuted.
Drug Testing, Urine Sample and Questionnaire
Drug Testing normally takes the form of a short questionnaire followed where appropriate by a urine sample, and typically provides an almost immediate indication for the presence of:
- Amphetamines and or Benzodiazepines.
Where there are any ‘non negatives’ (ie a positive indication) – all samples are submitted within a formal Chain of Custody for independent Laboratory re evaluation.
Alcohol Breathalyser using Draeger AT-6810
Alcohol Testing is conducted by breath testing using a Draeger AT-6810 machine (similar to that in use by many Police Forces across the UK).
The Wright Medics paramedics are fully trained and certified in the procedure of administering a breath test. Those being tested will be asked to take a deep breath and blow forcefully and evenly through the mouthpiece, without touching the monitor. The result is then expressed in ‘per mil’ units (grams per litre).
To complete the test takes approximately 5 minutes.
Client Policies may differ, but it is normal for a second test to be administered after 20 minutes if there is anything other than a zero reading, even if this is below the Clients stated alcohol limit. This is to establish if levels are rising or falling.
Contact Wright Medics to discuss your requirements
There are several reasons as to why an employer / company may choose to implement a drug and alcohol screening policy for their employees. The misuse of drugs and alcohol can significantly impact a person’s ability to perform their standard day-to-day activities, leading to reduced productivity, as well as increasing the risk of accidents, putting themselves and others at risk.
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