Thursday, 15 November 2018 23:31

Drug and Alcohol Testing at Work

It’s about this time of year, as we approach the festive season, that the police traditionally announce their crackdown campaign against drink-drivers.

Employers might want to consider taking a similar stance when it comes to drug and alcohol testing at work. Especially with NHS statistics claiming that as many as 1 in 12 adults between the ages 18 and 59 had taken an illicit substance in the year to 2017 and with little in the way of deterrents against drinking in the recent budget,

Drug and alcohol testing at work should form part of your Health and Safety policy and we recommend that it is promoted as being there for the welfare of employees. This is particularly relevant where you have employees who’s ability to do their job safely could be impaired if they are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. And remember they could harm colleagues and members of the public as well as themselves.

Employees that would be considered to be in ‘high risk’ groups include amongst others, drivers, those who work at height, handlers of hazardous substances or those who work with vulnerable adults and children.

To avoid risks of victimisation or discrimination claims, drug and alcohol tests should be carried out either on the entire workforce, or on a selection of employees that you can prove has been chosen at random. Testing only the high risk employees amongst your workforce is acceptable and we would advise this is done as a minimum under a business’s corporate manslaughter responsibilities. However you may choose to test all staff, or representatives of all staff or departments to ensure that workers are not on site under the influence of illegal substances.

Although self-use kits are available, when conducting tests it’s a good idea to use a professional external organisation to maintain consistency and avoid mistakes. You’ll also be able to ensure that proper records are kept and it will be less likely that any positive results are objected to.

The frequency of tests and whether they are applied to the whole workforce or a random selection and/or just high risk employees should be information contained within your staff handbook. This should also detail the likely consequences of a positive test result depending upon which substances are identified in the test.

We recommend that it is made very clear that tests will be held at random. Giving notification of when drug and alcohol tests will happen totally negates the reason for applying them.

For further help and support in managing drug and alcohol testing, your staff handbook wording and what to do in the result of a positive test, call us on 01452 331331 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


Read 2192 times Last modified on Thursday, 15 November 2018 23:55


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