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Covid causes organisations to focus on employee health issues more than ever

Employee safety has always been the responsibility of the employer, with HSE stating;

“You could be breaking the law if you knowingly allow drug-related activities in your workplace and you fail to act. It is just as important to know the implications to both your employees and business of not tackling drug misuse, particularly where safety is involved”. 

Greater acceptance of testing in principle

During the COVID-19 pandemic, health and safety has never been more important. But how has COVID testing affected the way organisations and employees feel about alcohol and drug testing?

Research suggests that employees are more receptive to workplace drug and alcohol testing as ‘testing’ in principle becomes more widely experienced and accepted due to COVID-19.

With the government recommending twice weekly COVID testing for certain groups of people, the process of testing is becoming more familiar for many. Indeed, breath testing for alcohol and to a certain extent, oral fluid testing for drugs of abuse, now seems far less invasive than the combined oral/nasal swab required for a COVID test.

It’s for this reason that we think employers now have a unique opportunity to define their alcohol and drug testing procedures with a more receptive audience, their employees.

A strong case to continue with testing

Over the past year, we have heard of many companies and organisations who have paused or scaled down their alcohol and drug testing operations due to concerns about the practicalities of testing employees during the pandemic. However, with the correct hygiene procedures in place, it’s possible to continue to test employees for drugs and alcohol, as defined by your workplace policy, in a COVID safe way.

It’s worth remembering that workplace drug and alcohol screening protects both employees and wider society and also reduces the impact on other healthcare services.

During the pandemic, police forces continued to test at the roadside for drugs and alcohol using similar safety protocols to those we have recommended to our clients. They reported that more arrests were being made for drug driving than drink driving during lockdown, and in some forces the drug driving figures were up 50%. Many of those arrested were drivers on their way to work, proving that it is vital to health and safety to prioritise alcohol and drug screening in the workplace.

Get further advice

If you have any further questions or concerns about workplace alcohol and/or drug testing, our experienced team can offer free advice and effective solutions for your company or organisation – send us a message or call 0208 454 7372.

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