Alcohol testing at work
Alcohol testing at work
Alcohol testing at work can be an important part of any HSE program. It is especially important in safety-critical employment roles. Zero tolerance is the term used to exclude alcohol at levels above 0.02% BAC (blood alcohol concentration)
The 0.02% level is set to exclude low levels which may arise as part of metabolic conditions, (eg keto-acidosis in diabetics) and other materially insignificant blood levels from passive ingestion or fermentation. In simple terms, you can not set the zero tolerance level at zero as you would need to exclude a whole range of mitigating excuses. 0.02% avoids all these.
It is important to remember that alcohol levels can continue to rise for up to 2 hours after an individual has consumed alcohol and that the levels may continue to rise after you have performed a breath alcohol test. Any alcohol in the blood impairs an individuals ability to perform a task and increases the chances of having an accident. In view of this if any alcohol is detected by the breathalyser, even if the colour change indicates that the level is low, we advise that the individual should not drive or operate machinery if any alcohol has been consumed in the 3 hour period before testing.
In UK employment law an employer can ask an employee to volunteer a sample for drug and alcohol screening. If this request forms an existing part of the employment contract the employee has agreed to consent. If not the employee may decline.
The employer has a duty of care to ensure a drug and alcohol-free, safe working environment.
Requests for drug and alcohol testing must be seen as fair and reasonable. Random testing should be just that. Targeted testing must be justifiable. Keep good records. Confirm all non-negative results using an accredited method which will stand tribunal examination.
How to test for alcohol use at work
We have alcohol testing kits for saliva alcohol testing, single-use disposable breathalyzers suitable for employment alcohol screening and home office approved fully certified evidential digital breathalyzers with printers, offering a fully integrated and compliant solution for alcohol testing in the workplace. Alternatively you can use a combination drug and alcohol testing kits for saliva with a back to lab confirmation drug alcohol test to confirm any positives.