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Drug and alcohol

Substance misuse, whether it involves prescription or illegal drugs or alcohol, can cause serious problems in the workplace – not only for users but also for colleagues, customers and suppliers. 

Misusing drugs or alcohol can increase the risk of absenteeism, presenteeism, low productivity and inappropriate behaviour eg bullying or aggressiveness, or result in drastic changes in normal behaviour.

Regular drug use or prolonged or excessive (binge) drinking can also cause poor decision making, impaired reaction times, poor time keeping and lack of concentration, any of which can cause errors and accidents in the workplace.

In addition, there is the risk of criminal behaviour – possession of some drugs is illegal, as is being over the limit when driving vehicles – exposing the user / drinker to possible criminal charges.

And employers can be breaking the law if they knowingly allow drug or alcohol influenced activities in the workplace and fail to act. (For example, under the Road Traffic Act and the Transport and Works Act, drivers of road vehicles must not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while driving, attempting to drive or when they are in charge of a vehicle).

Download our substance abuse in the workplace fact sheet

Drug and alcohol screening

Many organisations consider drug and alcohol screening to be an important part of their organisational policy, using it at new starter assessments, after an accident or incident, where there is reasonable cause to suspect an individual may be under the influence, or, in some circumstances, randomly.

If testing is performed, it is essential that it is performed in accordance with predetermined criteria and that all results are interpreted by a medical review officer.

MOHS offers a random drug and alcohol testing procedure for all types of organisations, which involves testing their employees, in accordance with corporate policies.

For all our procedures, the employee’s informed consent must be obtained to: 

  • undergo drug or alcohol or drug and alcohol testing, as appropriate
  • allow the results of the test to be released to the employer

Download our drug and alcohol screening fact sheet

Drug testing methods

Employment testing of urine: rapid drug test.  Immediate result, window of opportunity up to 3 days. This is designed as a screening test and is most usually used at the new starter employment stage.

Oral mucosal testing. For random testing. Window of opportunity 1 – 2 days. For each visit, MOHS draws from the current employee list a specified number of names, and collects samples from them. Each oral mucosal sample would be sent for analysis at the laboratory.

Quantitative test of urine. Standard method for 'for cause' testing. Window of opportunity up to 3 days.  MOHS conducts a urine collection at an early convenience at your site or at our medical centre in West Bromwich. 

Alcohol testing methods

Mucosal testing: on the spot positive or negative result within 2 minutes. Low cost method, valid only for screening use.

Breath testing: alcolmeter 500. Immediate result, no printout. Requires a witness if used for a disciplinary procedure.

Breath testing: alcolmeter 400p (with printout). Immediate result with a printout for evidential purposes.

Major repair work on M5 Oldbury Viaduct, between jcts 1 & 2. If visiting us, please allow extra journey time.

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