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Fleets urged to investigate drug-testing methods before committing to policy

So says Suzannah Robin, a drug safety expert at AlcoDigital who has 12 years’ experience in helping businesses to implement drug-testing policies for their staff through certified training programmes. These include the correct use of safety equipment, accurately interpreting results and spotting the different signs and symptoms of drug misuse.

Robin said: “We find that many companies may already have an idea of the type of drug test they would like to implement however when we start getting into the nitty gritty of the benefits and restrictions of each version we soon establish that the first choice isn’t always the best for their particular requirements.”

One of the most popular and widespread methods used for workplace testing is carried out via obtaining urine samples. However, while urine tests are ideal for implementing random testing policies, and can help to prevent incidents from happening in the first place, this form of testing is not without its limitations.

Robin explained: “Urine tests will not reveal if an individual has consumed drugs in the last two hours. Therefore, in the event any incident did take place a urine sample will not confirm if the employee was impaired by drugs at the time it occurred.”

Last year, the police force introduced roadside saliva tests for detecting drugs in drivers. Robin commented on why saliva tests are a natural choice for the police when determining cause.

“The police will be looking to establish if an incident was as a result of the driver being impaired by drugs. In order to determine this, they will need a method of testing that indicates a higher probability that the drugs detected were taken recently. 

“Aside from taking a blood test, a saliva sample is the only other method of drug testing that will produce a positive result if the individual had taken drugs in the last two hours but, more importantly, unlike urine testing, which detect drugs taken weeks ago, it will not reveal a positive result for any drugs that may have been taken more than 48 hours ago, which makes it the most reliable method for determining the cause of an incident.

“This is why we would recommend that companies with employees operating heavy machinery or driving vehicles adopt this testing method as part of their best practice policy.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.