Drug and alcohol tests are becoming more and more important in the workplace and this kind of testing is nowadays a huge part of health screening for people applying for a job. One of the reasons for this situation is the fact that drug use in the UK is still increasing and even occasional use of drugs can influence people and their behaviour in a work environment. This could ultimately jeopardise productivity and safety of the employees.
Pre Employment Drug Testing
It is now a common practice to require that drug screening takes place before offering employment to an individual. It is completely legal for employers to ask for a drug screen sample from job applicants, however, applicants can refuse to provide one.
In UK it is not against law to refuse a job application for the reason that a candidate did not provide a drug screening sample and therefore did not fulfil the company’s routine pre-employment procedure. Also there is no discrimination involved if providing this sample as a part of job application is routine.
It is clear that companies have a duty of care in making sure that no employees are under the influence of either drugs or alcohol while performing their duties, as this would mean huge risk for employees themselves as well as their colleagues. This especially applies in jobs where in which the employees duties are strongly related to safety of the others.
Drug testing of prospective employees is very simple and a drug screening programme can be easily implemented at most workplaces. We recommend that firms start by testing for 5 or 6 drug groups, however, if necessary, we can always add additional ones as we also have to take into account local availability of drugs as well as popular usage patterns.
Employment Drug Testing in the UK
In the UK we recommend that companies begin by screening for Cannabis, Cocaine, Opiates, Methamphetamine & Amphetamine +/- Benzodiazepines. The Zoom Testing 12 Parameter Drug Test would detect all of these drugs of abuse and six additional drugs.
When buying drug tests, it is extremely important that the kits are bought from an expert, reputable supplier. Technical support from the supplier is vital. Kits need to have not only a CE mark, but also manufacturers data, EU representative details for the CE quality mark and an original data sheet. They must be professional and of healthcare standard class 1- biotech imported as In Vitro Diagnostic Device (IVDD). The drug test kits will need to have been properly stored by the distributor.
It is crucial that not only are the suppliers experienced in the biotechnology of drug screening but that they also have employees who are able to offer useful tips and advice.
This post has been updated since its original publication in 2013.