Drug testing in the workplace can be a controversial issue. As a result, there is an important balance to be struck between health and safety and workers’ rights.
At Crystal Health Group, we will work with you to implement drug and alcohol testing that is right for your business. In addition, we have a wealth of experience for you to draw on when developing your drug and alcohol policy. We believe that drug and alcohol testing is effective and should be considered as part of a health and safety strategy in the workplace. In other words, the risks and effects of drugs and alcohol in the workplace must be effectively managed.
While the report on the latest drugs misuse statistics in England and Wales provides statistics on general drug use in the UK, there is no evidence of how this impacts people in work. Also, without the evidence, it is difficult to make assumptions about employee’s recreational drug habits. For example, it is claimed that some employees limit illegal drug use for social occasions at weekends. Again, there is no clear evidence of this, and this does not consider the evermore complex shift patterns in the workplace.
It is worth noting that there is no evidence linking drug and alcohol use to accidents or incidents in the workplace. However, we believe it is about managing the risk for the likelihood of this happening. Considering the use of recreational drugs in society today, this is a real risk that all organisations should consider.
Furthermore, while the risks to safety critical roles from the effects of drugs and alcohol are obvious, it is also worth considering employees who are making business critical decisions. What about employees who do not fall in to either of these categories? The risk of slips, trips, or falls in the workplace could increase if under the influence of drugs or alcohol. There is no simple answer, but below we provide some guidance based on our experience.
When it comes to drug and alcohol testing at work, we aim to provide impartial and balanced advice. It is important to consider employee’s rights and what they do in their own time. However, it is worth remembering that recreational drugs such as cannabis and cocaine are illegal in the UK.
Also, we have represented employees at employment tribunals. Nichola McChrystal’s expert testimony helped with a judgment of unfair and wrongful dismissal. An employer had dismissed an employee who ‘failed’ a point of care urine drug screen in the workplace. Without laboratory confirmation testing of the sample, a point of care drug screen can only be considered as presumptively positive. In this case, the employer failed to send the sample for laboratory testing and therefore lost the judgement.
Our advice is to always provide support to employees who may have difficulties with drugs or alcohol. After all, they are an asset to your business, and you may have invested a lot in terms of skills and training. A zero-tolerance approach can bring its own problems and could potentially be an unnecessary drain on your HR resources. In addition, we will not judge any employee who fails a drug test. Our professional service will always compliment and comply with your drugs and alcohol policy.
We provide unique clinic-based appointments and on-site sample collection services. As a result, we can cater for most drug and alcohol testing needs. This includes individuals attending appointments at clinics, or one of our certified collection officers attending your location. For example, this could be your home address, or your place of business. In addition, we have vast experience in delivering on-site workplace drug testing programmes for organisations large and small.
We recommend a practical and simple approach to drug and alcohol testing in the workplace. Here are some key considerations for developing and implementing your drugs and alcohol policy:
For your convenience, we have a network of drug testing clinics throughout the UK. As a result, we can provide drug and alcohol test appointments for you in your local area. Or we can arrange for a certified sample collection officer to visit your home, workplace, or other location.
The above is by no means an exhaustive list of do's and don’ts. The best way we can help you is by fully understanding your business needs and your motivation to introduce drug and alcohol testing. By asking the right questions we can advise you accordingly. Also, our senior management team are available to address any concerns you might have. In addition, we have developed helpful templates and guidance that may assist you in developing both your policy and implementing drug testing in your workplace.
Crystal Health Group
The Old Chapel