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Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing

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.

Workplace drug and alcohol testing

Drugs and alcohol in the workplace

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.

Workplace drug and alcohol testing cannabis

Since 2009, our own evidence from providing workplace drug testing in the UK has shown that...

  • Cannabis and Cocaine account for more than 90% of failure rates in workplace drug testing.
  • When performing random drug testing for the first time, we have encountered failure rates of up to 33%.
  • Most drug test failures occur in the 16 to 30 age group.
  • Implementing regular random drug testing has reduced failure rates to almost zero in organisations.

Managing the risks from drugs and alcohol 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.

How can Crystal Health Group help with your workplace drug testing?

Expert advice and support

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.

Supporting your employees

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.

A wide range of collection options including clinics and on-site mobile collections

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.

Drugs and alcohol policy advice

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:

  • Develop your drugs and alcohol policy in collaboration with your workforce and trade union (if applicable).
  • Ensure you give the required statutory notice period for introducing the policy and updating employment contracts.
  • Undertake a formal risk assessment to identify the risks in your workplace. This includes the employees most at risk, for example, safety critical roles.
  • Seek legal advice and sign-off for your policy from suitably qualified employment lawyers.
  • Implement a drug testing programme (if applicable) that suits your business needs. We can provide advice, expertise, and delivery of this.
Reasons for workplace drug and alcohol testing
  • Pre-employment Drug Testing – As part of your recruitment and induction process.
  • Random Workplace Drug Testing – An excellent deterrent to attain and maintain a positive culture and safe workplace.
  • Periodic Drug Testing – Usually for the more safety critical roles. Employees undertake drug and alcohol testing at least once annually.
  • Follow up Drug Testing – Depending on your drug and alcohol policy, this could be an option for your organisation to help rehabilitate employees and get them back in to work safely.
  • For-cause Drug Testing – Also known as ‘with-cause’ or ‘post-incident’ testing. This type of testing could help provide further evidence for an investigation into an accident, incident or allegations of drug or alcohol use at work.

Local drug testing clinics, and mobile locations throughout the UK

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.

Workplace drug testing advice

Workplace drug and alcohol testing

Doesn't have to be daunting

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.