Home > HR Matters > Drug Testing in the Workplace

Drug Testing in the Workplace

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 12 Mar 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Drug Testing Workplace Drug Testing Work

Any company would want to keep the use of drugs outside of the workplace alongside any repercussions of an employee’s misuse outside of the workplace. In addition to causing health problems, drug use can increase the risk of accidents.

However, although drug testing is perfectly legal, it is not enforced by law and any company who may wish to implement a drug testing policy at work must state that in any employment contract or company handbook and an employee would have to consent to undergoing a drugs test should they be asked to do so. Of course, in certain occupations and in some companies, failure to give consent can naturally result in a potential job applicant being turned down for a position.

Introducing a Drug Testing Policy

Normally, a company who implements a drug testing policy would do so in instances where it has grounds to test for drugs because of its occupational health and safety policy. This would usually be set out in an employment contract or company handbook. The policy should state:

  • What it is trying to achieve
  • How the tests will be conducted
  • What sort of disciplinary action might be enforced if a drugs test proves to be positive
  • What level of support, if any, would be given to an employee if they failed the test
  • How employees can find out more from their health and safety representative

The Nature of the Tests

Drug testing subjects should always be chosen at random or as the result of an accident or incident. In certain companies, testing can be targeted at a particular person(s) if the company feels that there has been a marked decline in a person’s behaviour or work performance and/or they have strong reason to believe that a person has been misusing alcohol or drugs.

Workers could also be targeted if an employer suspects that a worker’s actions could cause an accident. In addition to there being an agreed policy, any drug testing should be carried out under supervised conditions and must respect the dignity of the person being tested who must also have been asked if they are taking any prescribed medication which might interfere with the results.

The Government’s Standpoint

Both the UK government and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) agree that there should be no need for a widespread increase in the use of workplace drug testing. However, it is often considered necessary in certain jobs where safety and security are of critical importance such as in the armed forces, the financial sector, those who drive public transport, the nuclear industry, the police and the prison service.

The Accuracy of the Results

Drug testing samples should be collected in a tamper proof sealed container and placed under chain of custody which is the legal term for ensuring that the sample’s identity and integrity are guaranteed from the moment of collection to the reporting of the results from an independent laboratory.

Pros and Cons of Drugs Testing

The advantages of drugs testing include benefits for health and safety, efficiency, the welfare of workers and a company’s reputation but on the downside, they can damage relations between the workers and the company and there are also issues surrounding a person’s privacy rights.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Hi My work are currently consucring random DT's... I have told them what medication I am taking as prescribed by my doctor and how much I take. They have told me if I am tested it will be positive (I am taking amitrypiline,cocodamol and steriods (only a course that I am taking for a few weeks) I am not concerned that they can take me to a disciplinary as they are aware of my medical history and I have a prescription for all meds I take. However they have said I will be sent home on garden leave for 3 days until the lab sends a detailed result back confirming what is present in the positive test. My colleagues do not know my medical conditions and I do not want them too (its my business after all) and I am worries that I will need to explain to them why I have had a positive result (they will know as we all know how offices work!) I only really have 2 options tell them the truth about my condition (as i said i don't feel comfortable with this) or let them think i am taking illegal drugs. Can anyone advise if my work can make me take garden leave when my result shows positive? I feel sick to my stomach every day going in in case i am called up!!! Tia Siani
siani88 - 12-Mar-16 @ 10:09 PM
vplambeck - you should not be visually assesed.
demacca - 1-Sep-14 @ 4:28 PM
can my work legally visual drug test me.? they watch us pee when we do our drug test and i was wondering if that was legal?
vplambeck - 2-May-13 @ 11:01 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Lanny
    Re: How Many Breaks am I Entitled to?
    Hi i worked a 13 and half hour shift lastnight my first one driving with out any breaks when i asked do we have a tea break…
    21 November 2017
  • Davehug7900
    Re: How Many Breaks am I Entitled to?
    The above statement is a lie, the law states that during a 6 hour work period you are entitled to 1 20 minute uninterrupted…
    19 November 2017
  • WorkplaceSafetyAdvice
    Re: Legal Minimum Temperature in a Warehouse?
    Jay - Your Question:Hi I work in a freezer at temp -21 packing goods and putting stock away been provided with…
    17 November 2017
  • Steph
    Re: Forklift Truck Safety
    Hi I am am a in house truck instructor my manager has told all divers to drive to test standerds now due to proclivity drop he has ask me…
    16 November 2017
  • Jay
    Re: Legal Minimum Temperature in a Warehouse?
    Hi I work in a freezer at temp -21 packing goods and putting stock away been provided with freezer jacket but…
    16 November 2017
  • WorkplaceSafetyAdvice
    Re: How Many Breaks am I Entitled to?
    DDTelford - Your Question:Please help! I’ve been offered a job Monday to Friday doing a 6am to 6pm shift driving a shunt…
    13 November 2017
  • DDTelford
    Re: How Many Breaks am I Entitled to?
    Please help! I’ve been offered a job Monday to Friday doing a 6am to 6pm shift driving a shunt wagon around a factory unit.…
    12 November 2017
  • Fishersway
    Re: Forklift Truck Safety
    If a the racking system is not level due to the floor not being uneven am i within my rights to refuse to use it
    11 November 2017
  • pigsfeet
    Re: Working At Height
    I work for a builders merchants and on some occasions it is required to tip a load across the gates, therefore the counter balance truck will…
    7 November 2017
  • Keeley2
    Re: Dealing with Employee Theft
    Hi I run a small cleaning company and one of my ladies has been caught stealing money from money jars.my client noticed old pound…
    4 November 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the WorkplaceSafetyAdvice website. Please read our Disclaimer.