Q&A with Randox Testing Services: All Things Workplace Drug & Alcohol Testing
At Randox Testing Services, we are always trying to think of new ways to get the message across about the positive impact workplace drug & alcohol testing can have on an organisation. So, we decided to speak with one of our colleagues; Simon Tibbo, who is regularly engaging with companies about how to be proactive in minimising the risks of substance misuse.
Read below to find out what he had to say.
From your experience and knowledge, what industries are currently implementing testing programmes?
Apart from the finance industry, I’ve personally seen testing programmes within almost all business sectors, from the obvious, safety critical industries, Rail Track, Maritime, Construction, Logistics, all the way through to manufacturing firms, retail outlets, and even predominantly clerical companies. If a company has a workplace substance misuse policy and are looking to satisfactorily enforce the terms within, they will be engaged with a service provider, such as Randox, to properly support the policy.
What are, in your opinion, the barriers that companies face when trying to implement working drug & alcohol testing?
The introduction of a substance misuse policy to an already existing ‘company handbook’ can be a challenge, especially if the work-force has been established for some time. People don’t tend to like change, especially within the workplace. Unions can sometimes be unwelcoming to the idea of random testing and will often look to restrict the scope of testing or the policy itself. I’d say that each industry/company will likely meet its own barriers whilst developing and implementing a policy, and some may well be unique to the individual circumstances. Often, customers may implement an amnesty period prior to the commencement of a drug testing programme. This gives employees the opportunity to come forward and declare if they have a substance misuse issue which they can address together with their employer without sanctions.
Why has there been a delay in some companies developing workplace policies that directly relate to substance misuse?
There could be many reasons as to why a company hasn’t implemented a policy, but I’d expect somewhere near the top of that list would be either the assumption there isn’t a substance misuse issue within the business/industry, the worry that a substance misuse issue within the business/industry is highlighted by the introduction of a policy, and therefore creating more problems than its seen to be solving, or even that a company is simply unaware the solution is available and beneficial.
How important within a policy is it that a company clearly outlines what is expected of an employee, and the consequences of substance misuse?
Very! A policy needs to be clear and concise in its structure and procedures. If you aren’t explaining the terms or the consequences you could potentially end up with a problematic HR process and unresolvable tribunal cases. If an employee has sight of a straightforward policy they will know what to expect if the terms are breached, not to mention enforcing it should be equally as straightforward. It is also important to state why the policy is in place – i.e. to protect the workforce, the public and the company reputation.
Is it important to state cut-offs in substance misuse policies?
For alcohol, yes, most certainly. For drugs, not so much. An alcohol test with a home office approved breathalyser will provide an evidential result, which can be directly related to a ‘site cut-off’ (in the same manner as the existence of a road legal limit). Workplace drug testing should adhere to specific guidelines set-out by the EWDTS (European Workplace Drug Testing Society) in not just it’s procedures, but also its expected substance cut-offs. The cut-offs differ between substances so it’s not quite as straightforward. My suggestion would always be, if you feel it necessary to include drug cut-off information, refer to the EWDTS guidelines, they’re available to download on the EWDTS website if anyone needs sight, but ensure your provider is working to them and don’t go into full details, it’ll serve only to add unnecessary bulk to what should ideally be a streamlined policy.
How effective has workplace testing been in helping companies reduce the risk of drug & alcohol use?
From personal experience I can tell you, I’ve seen companies implement a policy/testing practice due to an awareness of substance misuse, only to reduce the volume of testing over time as the approach has proved successful in reducing or eradicating the specific problem. I’d say that’s a testament to implementing a random testing practice, it sends a sensible message in a fair and balanced manner, which ultimately gets results. If it’s done right, it’s going to be beneficial, even if it’s not particularly well received at its inception. Other examples where testing volume has been scaled back have led to an increase in the rates of positives demonstrating that an active testing programme is a deterrent to substance misuse.
Going forward, what industries do you see adopting a more proactive approach in use of substance misuse testing?
Likely most industries, every company has a duty of care to staff, contractors, visitors and/or the public. There will always be industries that don’t agree, don’t want to uncover issues or don’t believe they exist, but it’s the people that matter and the more that’s done to promote safety, welfare and overall good practice, the more industries will settle to the idea.
About Randox Testing Services
Randox Testing Services offer a wide range of products and services for the testing of illicit substances. We can craft customised packages to suit the needs of our customers, no matter what the industry.
Our expertise and experience working within this industry allow us to provide a range of testing solutions that will impact the risk of substance use in the workplace. With an extensive collection network and quality products, we can meet the needs of your business.
To find out more, contact us:
Phone: +44 (0) 28 9442 2413
Randox Testing Services are delighted to announce that we will be attending the Northern Ireland Construction Expo. Titanic Exhibition Centre will be the venue for the event, taking place on 13th February.
The NI Construction Expo brings together over 2000 construction companies, developers, policy makers, project owners and a plethora of other organisations, to provide an environment of debate, further knowledge in the design, construction and management of Northern Ireland’s buildings, infrastructure and industrial projects.
Attending the event will be our Senior Business Development Executive David O’Regan and our Business Development Executive Jim Windsor. Both have many years’ experience in workplace drug and alcohol testing and they will be more than happy to answer any questions you have regarding implementing a workplace testing policy.
Our Sales Executive Jim Windsor will be speaking at the event, providing those in attendance how drug & alcohol testing in the construction industry can have a positive impact on a business in this safety-critical environment.
If you would like to arrange a meeting with our team, please contact email@example.com. We will be exhibiting at stand B11B, make sure you stop by and have a chat to our team for any drug & alcohol testing related queries you may have.
Randox Testing Services
Randox Testing Services is part of the Randox Laboratories group, a global market leader in the diagnostics industry with over 35 years’ experience. Founded in 1982 by current Managing Director, Dr Peter FitzGerald CBE FREng, Randox is dedicated to accurate and sensitive sample testing. The ethos within Randox is to produce quality products, supported by continual investment in research and development.
Randox Testing Services is a specialist in the drug and alcohol testing industry. Our expertise is relied upon by a range of leading safety-critical companies across the UK, Ireland and internationally, as well as the medico-legal sector.
Visit our website today for more information:
Medico-legal Testing: https://www.randoxtestingservices.com/medico-legal-testing/
Private Individuals: https://www.randoxtestingservices.com/private-individuals/
Phone: +44 (0) 161 741 2760
At Randox Testing Services we utilise discreet and non-invasive methods of drug & alcohol testing for comfort and fast sample collection. Offering a choice of a urine test, hair drug test, saliva drug test or a combination of tests, our drug testing methods ensure the possibility for short-term and long-term drug abuse profiling. With different drug testing methods having different windows of detection, we offer advice on which methods to utilise depending upon your company’s drug testing requirements, ensuring the best method or combination of methods is chosen to ensure all your testing needs are fulfilled.
Below we will provide a breakdown of each sample type and accompanying detection windows for the presence of illicit substances.
Urine – Drug & Alcohol Testing
Urine is the most common sample type for drug & alcohol testing. Simple and practical to obtain, it offers short-term drug abuse profiling. It is considered non-intrusive and sample collection is not observed.
Drugs: 4 hours – 8 days (30 days for regular cannabis users)
Alcohol: <12 hours
Oral Fluid – Drug Testing
Oral fluid testing analyses a saliva sample for parent drugs and their metabolites. Providing analysis of short-term drug abuse, an oral fluid test is used for with-cause testing and post-incident testing, with results detectable 30-60 minutes after ingestion.
Drugs: 24 hours – 48 hours after consumption (drug dependent)
Breath – Alcohol Testing
Breath can be tested for alcohol using handheld devices which provide immediate results. These devices are specific to alcohol and can gauge blood alcohol content (BAC) by measuring deep lung air. This type of testing can accurately determine whether a person has recently consumed alcohol or is currently over the legal or pre-determined limit.
Hair – Drug Testing
A hair drugs test offers a longer window of detection than alternative testing and provides a detailed month-on-month view of overall picture of drug use. This can highlight trends of drug use, suggest abstinence or show evidence of use depending on the length of the hair sample. Our hair testing services are tailored to meet the specific needs of our customers.
Typically, up to 90 days using a 3cm sample (1cm of head hair = 1-month detection).
Body hair can be used to provide extended window of up to 1 year
Randox Testing Services
At Randox Testing Services we are committed to improving the safety of workplaces who may be affected by drug & alcohol consumption. We offer a wide range of quality products designed to test for illegal substances quickly and efficiently, ensuring minimal disruption in your workplace.
To find out more about sample types and how they are utilised in workplace testing programs, click this link: http://bit.ly/RTS-samp
For more information on the different drugs we currently test for, click: http://bit.ly/RTS-drugstest
If you would like to find out more about our drug & alcohol testing programs, contact us today to speak to one of our experience business development executives.
Phone: +44 (0) 28 9445 1011
What is a workplace substance misuse policy?
Many organisations implement a policy that outlines the expectations they have concerning the misuse of drugs and/or alcohol and how this can affect performance and safety in the workplace. This can often be referred to as a substance misuse policy.
Employers hold the responsibility to ensure employees are fully aware of the company’s rules, regulations, testing and disciplinary procedures. Fundamentally, this is to guarantee complete workplace safety. The policy itself holds a vital importance providing employees with the knowledge of the standards expected of them in the workplace.
To ensure transparency of information, it is imperative that the policy is written in a clear, comprehensive manner. This should allow them to understand without confusion or misinterpretation the implications the organisation has in place for users who misuse substances.
Why is this policy so important for businesses to implement?
Alcohol and / or drug use increases the chances of problems occurring in the workplace. For example, studies have found that employees with alcohol problems are 2.7 times more likely to have an accident whilst at work.
Some of the main issues that associated with substance misuse in the workplace are:
- Absenteeism – It’s estimated that there are 17 million lost days of work per year due to substance misuse.
- Low productivity levels – Employees may lose focus in different tasks and become de-motivated.
- Inappropriate behaviour – Some cases of substance abuse may lead to inappropriate actions or in extreme cases crime
Evidence suggests that many people who suffer from alcohol and drug abuse are in employment. Studies show that 25% of registered drug addicts are in full-time employment and that 3.3% of all adults in England and Wales aged 16 – 59 classified as frequent users.
Significant issues such as these provide growing concerns for employers to put in place a workplace substance misuse policy to guarantee the welfare of all stakeholders. Under the Health & Safety Act 1974, employers have a duty to ensure the safety of their employees is met to all principles. Introducing an effective workplace policy is a key part in maintaining these standards.
The importance of a workplace policy for drugs and alcohol can benefit employers by:
- Building relationships with employees by showing them there is support available.
- Policies can raise awareness of issues in the business and can encourage staff members to take action if they feel they have a problem.
- Its importance can reduce the number of sick employees, it can also increase staff turnover & productivity levels.
- Employers who implement a workplace policy can also see a rise in efficiency, improved staff relationship, communication and improved corporate image and in some cases customer relations.
What we at Randox Testing Services can do:
Randox Testing Services is a market leader in the drug and alcohol testing industry. Our expertise is relied upon by safety-critical companies all over the world. We provide complete drug and alcohol testing solutions to a range of blue chip companies across multiple industries including aviation, transport, construction, maritime, retail and occupational health to name a few.
Our expert consultancy service allows employers to create an effective drug and alcohol misuse policy. We offer comprehensive advice, guidance and support in composing an effective policy and explaining best procedures and testing methods to use. We also provide assistance to employers with an existing substance misuse policy, helping to modify existing documents to ensure they are legally viable and can withstand challenge in court.
To ensure clear communication of any policy changes, our experts can come to your workplace and present the policy to your staff. By having a third party explain the policy employers can ensure all the benefits are communicated effectively. This way staff do not feel like they are being victimised or persecuted, but know their employer is looking after their workplace wellbeing.
Combining our consultancy service with our drug and alcohol testing service and / or point of care products, employers can find a complete testing solution from Randox Testing Services.
About Randox Testing Services
At Randox Testing Services we offer complete drug and alcohol testing solutions to a wide range of industries across the globe. We work with companies to help create and implement effective workplace testing policies that suit their needs and budget.
To support our customers our additional services include training and education courses as well as policy reviews and consultancy. Our experts are at hand to discuss any testing requirements you may have. To get in touch email firstname.lastname@example.org today.