Did you know?
- Anyone can be stopped by the police for a roadside drug and alcohol test in England and Wales.
- Since roadside drug testing was incorporated into the Road Traffic Act, a significant number of drivers have been arrested for ‘drug driving’.
- Some insurance companies will reduce your policy costs if you evidence that you regularly drug and alcohol test your workforce.
As of March 2015, under the Road Traffic Act 1988, it’s an offence to drive or be in charge of a vehicle when you are impaired due to the effects of drugs or alcohol. Under this legislation, the police are empowered to stop any driver who is in charge of a vehicle and test them at the roadside.
SYNLAB works with many of the UK’s leading logistics providers, who recognise the potential risks of drug and alcohol misuse and the impact it can have on their workforce, public image and reputation.
Adopting a drug and alcohol policy within your organisation won’t stop your fleet being stopped by police at the roadside, but is a vital tool to help protect you from the risks associated with substance misuse.
So whether you operate a fleet of vehicles, bus company or taxi service, drug and alcohol testing could protect your brand image and reputation by reducing the risks of accidents on the road.
Pre-employment – Employing reliable drivers, who you trust can be a challenge. Utilising drug and alcohol testing as part of you pre-employment / induction checks makes the recruitment process that bit easier by acting as a deterrent to those who misuse drugs and alcohol from applying to work with your organisation.
Random – The random selection of employees to be drug and alcohol tested throughout the year reduces the risk of accidents on the road due to drug and alcohol abuse.
For Cause – Following an accident, incident or on reasonable grounds of suspicion a ‘For Cause’ test can be invoked at short notice.
Know your limits!
An electronic legally defensible breathalyser is most commonly used to test breath samples for the presence of alcohol. If your organisation operates across the UK, you should be aware of the different limits in each country:
England, Wales and Northern Ireland
- 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood
- 35μg of alcohol per 100ml of breath
- 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood
- 22μg of alcohol per 100ml of breath
Republic of Ireland – there are lower limits for commercial drivers in the ROI as detailed below:
- 20mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood
- 9μg of alcohol per 100ml of breath
Due to the safety critical nature of the industry, most organisations in this sector, outside of the ROI, operate a company limit of 22μg of alcohol per 100ml of breath.
Drugs of Abuse
To test for drugs of abuse, most organisations within this industry test a urine sample. However, if you do not have suitable toilet facilities, a saliva sample can be tested instead. No matter what sample you choose to screen, our recommendation is that you follow the same testing process across your organisation for consistency.
Screening a urine sample for drugs of abuse is considered to be the gold standard across the industry as it is highly reliable and easy to collect and analyse. The detection window for drugs in urine varies by drug, but is typically between 12 hours and 7 days.
There are 10 common drugs of abuse screened for in urine:
If you do not have suitable toilet facilities, and need to provide drug and alcohol testing at all of your locations, saliva testing is an unobtrusive sample medium. With a narrower window of detection for drugs in saliva, typically between 2 – 48 hours, saliva is used to look at current impairment i.e. are they fit to work right now?
There are 6 common drugs of abuse screened for within saliva:
Who collects the samples?
Changing shift patterns and constantly being on the move, it can be difficult to find the time to organise drug and alcohol testing at a time that accurately reflects your employee demographic.
As is most common across this industry, your employees can be trained to collect the samples and complete drug and alcohol testing on behalf of your company.
Alternatively SYNLAB operates a national drug and alcohol Collection Service if you would prefer an external organisation to complete testing on your behalf. More information on our Collection Service can be found here.