Random Drug Testing In The Workplace

Many UK employers use random drug testing to deter drug use or misuse in the workplace environment. Random drug testing has been shown in many studies to reduce missed work, decrease accidents, and so on. Drug testing is a good practice to put in place especially in work areas where there’s safety concerns or jobs that are higher risk.

Random Drug Testing Based On Cause

Some businesses don’t perform random drug testing, but implement it when there’s a problem in the workplace like an accident or other incident. This is usually called a “cause” type of test because the employer has some probable cause to conduct the test in the first place. This may be because the employer thinks an employee can’t fulfill duties due to drinking or drug use suspicions.

The frequency of a drug test is up to the employer to decide. Some factors that might be considered for the test are the demographics of the workforce, the nature of the work or the culture of the workforce such as drinking at lunchtime, for example.

In some businesses there’s as little as 5% screening of employees per year whereas other business may test multiple times per year. Some factors that the employer must consider in terms of how often to test include:

  • health and safety considerations of the working environment
  • cost of implementing a drug screening policy
  • motivation and need for a drug-free workplace

The employer must make the decisions as to when the test will take place and how often as each business is going to be different.

Implementing Random Drug Testing In The Workplace

It’s quite simple to start drug testing in your workplace and it doesn’t cost a lot of money to get started. It can cost as little as £10 per employee for random alcohol and drug testing.

Defining A Drug An Alcohol Testing Policy

First you will need to write an alcohol and drug testing policy, so your employees understand what acceptable behaviour in the workplace is. You need to ensure they understand the consequences of breaking the workplace rules. You may need to discuss this with union and staff representatives so everyone is on the same page and that policies were developed with the proper consultation in place before a said policy was adopted.

If you have trouble writing your policy, our team can help you. We can go over your documents to ensure that everything is legal, easy to read and that it makes sense to everyone. We have a lot of experience in this area and can help you get your policy together quickly so you can put it in place at your work.

Once you have your document with your policy, you need to issue this to your staff and then work out an implementation date. Make sure the start date of the policy if further away from the contractual notice period. When your start date of the policy arrives it will become a part of the terms and conditions for employment in your company. This will allow you to conduct “cause” tests on your employees if there’s an incident or accident that requires a random drug test to take place. If someone fails to comply then they are failing a reasonable request and this is a just cause to dismiss the employee or have disciplinary action since it was outlined in the policy you created as terms for employment in your company.

The goal should be to get the employee off the substance and not a direct firing. If anyone comes forward and asks for assistance with a problem you should help the individual as you see fit.

You should create drug awareness in the workplace by training your managers. They will be able to identify symptoms and signs of drug or alcohol abuse by employees. They will also have the skills to deal directly with a problem should it arise. Many of our customers opt for a half day training sessions for managers to take which is very beneficial to the company.

Our alcohol and drug testing pages has many products and services that can benefit you and your company for screening purposes. Contact us if you need more advice about drug and alcohol testing in your workplace. We can provide you with a quote that meets your exact requirements.

Why Should I Choose Zoom Testing for my Workplace Drug Testing Needs?

Here at Zoom Testing we take pride in providing you a complete solution for your drug testing needs. It doesn’t matter whether you have a large or a small business as we are here to serve you with complete drug testing packages. We have free literature and information available so contact us today for advice from our experienced drug testing team.

This post has been updated since its original publication in 2014.


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