Alcohol misuse and excessive or chronic alcohol consumption can be a danger to the person consuming the alcohol as well as their work colleagues. As a result, testing for alcohol abuse and recent or excessive alcohol consumption is required to protect the health and safety of their employees, as well as to ensure legal compliance and security of the business.
There are a variety of ways alcohol use can be detected in the workplace. The most widely used method is through a breath test which quickly identifies the number of units within an individual’s system.
We understand how crucial it is to use the right sample type in the right testing scenario. As a result we use a variety of screening methods and sample types to detect drug abuse or alcohol misuse. Our drug testing methods use saliva, urine, or hair strand samples to test for drugs, and our alcohol testing methods use breath, urine, or hair strand samples to test for alcohol. Below is a detailed overview of each method.
A saliva test is used for detecting drugs, and can detect drugs for up to 48 hours after consumption. Providing analysis of short-term drug abuse, a saliva drug test is used by employers conducting for-cause testing and post-incident testing.
An oral fluid test involves taking a saliva sample from between the cheek and gums to analyze traces of drugs. This sample method is reliable as high concentrations of drug components remain in the oral cavity for a period of time after drug consumption. Sample collection is taken quickly and easily, and is less prone to tampering as samples are taken by a sample collection officer and the sample donor is in view at all times.
A urine test can be used for the detection of drugs and/or alcohol, and offers short-term detection of substance abuse. Alcohol is detectable in urine for less than 12 hours. A urine drug test can detect traces of drugs from between 4 hours and up to 8 days (this may be extended for regular cannabis users to around 30 days).
Urine tests are often used in conjunction with other methods such as hair strand tests to provide an enhanced time-line for drug and alcohol detection; therefore allowing analysis of chronic substance abuse.
It is used as the most common sample type for workplace drug and alcohol testing because it is simple and practical.
A urine test consists of gaining a urine sample from the individual securely. At UK Screening Solutions measures are to be taken to guarantee samples are not tampered with as samples are most commonly deposited privately.
A breath test is used for detecting alcohol. This test determines whether an individual has recently consumed alcohol or is presently over the legal or pre-determined limit. This type of test produces immediate results and is used by employers to carry out several types of workplace testing one of which includes random testing.
Alcohol breath testing consists of using a handheld, non-invasive device to estimate and analyse an individual’s blood alcohol content by measuring the amount of alcohol in their breath. Alcohol is absorbed from the mouth, throat, stomach and intestines into the bloodstream. As the blood passes through the lungs, some of the alcohol evaporates and moves across the membranes of the lungs alveoli (air sacs) into the air. The concentration of the alcohol in the air is related to the concentration of alcohol in the blood, this allows a breathalyser device to be used to estimate an individual’s blood alcohol content.
At UK Screening Solutions we use and supply breathalysers which provide extremely accurate results.
A hair strand test can be used for the detection of drugs and/or alcohol. It is used for long-term substance abuse profiling with a detection window of 90 days or more. This sample type has the longest detection window and is often used in conjunction with other methods to enhance identification of individuals with substance abuse issues. This type of test is the most common sample type used for substance abuse assessment in child protection and family law cases and is commonly used by recruiters and employers conducting pre-employment screening.
Hair testing involves taking a hair strand sample from an individual to detect if and approximately when someone has consumed drugs or alcohol. Hair grows at a rate of approximately 1cm per month and, as a result, a 3cm sample is usually used to acquire a longer analysis of substance abuse. Hair strand analysis differs slightly for the detection of alcohol and drugs.
When a drug is taken it is absorbed into the blood stream and circulated around the body. As a result it is incorporated into the hair follicle meaning that as the hair grows, drugs are transferred into the hair strand. It can take up to 2 weeks for drug components to enter the hair and therefore analysis of a 3cm sample is recommended.
Analysis of the hair strand allows traces of drugs to be detected to provide an overall picture of drug abuse or a month by month analysis.