Q&A with Randox Testing Services: All Things Workplace Drug & Alcohol Testing
Q&A with Randox Testing Services: All Things Workplace Drug & Alcohol Testing
At Randox Testing Services, we are always trying to think of new ways to get the message across about the positive impact workplace drug & alcohol testing can have on an organisation. So, we decided to speak with one of our colleagues; Simon Tibbo, who is regularly engaging with companies about how to be proactive in minimising the risks of substance misuse.
Read below to find out what he had to say.
From your experience and knowledge, what industries are currently implementing testing programmes?
Apart from the finance industry, I’ve personally seen testing programmes within almost all business sectors, from the obvious, safety critical industries, Rail Track, Maritime, Construction, Logistics, all the way through to manufacturing firms, retail outlets, and even predominantly clerical companies. If a company has a workplace substance misuse policy and are looking to satisfactorily enforce the terms within, they will be engaged with a service provider, such as Randox, to properly support the policy.
What are, in your opinion, the barriers that companies face when trying to implement working drug & alcohol testing?
The introduction of a substance misuse policy to an already existing ‘company handbook’ can be a challenge, especially if the work-force has been established for some time. People don’t tend to like change, especially within the workplace. Unions can sometimes be unwelcoming to the idea of random testing and will often look to restrict the scope of testing or the policy itself. I’d say that each industry/company will likely meet its own barriers whilst developing and implementing a policy, and some may well be unique to the individual circumstances. Often, customers may implement an amnesty period prior to the commencement of a drug testing programme. This gives employees the opportunity to come forward and declare if they have a substance misuse issue which they can address together with their employer without sanctions.
Why has there been a delay in some companies developing workplace policies that directly relate to substance misuse?
There could be many reasons as to why a company hasn’t implemented a policy, but I’d expect somewhere near the top of that list would be either the assumption there isn’t a substance misuse issue within the business/industry, the worry that a substance misuse issue within the business/industry is highlighted by the introduction of a policy, and therefore creating more problems than its seen to be solving, or even that a company is simply unaware the solution is available and beneficial.
How important within a policy is it that a company clearly outlines what is expected of an employee, and the consequences of substance misuse?
Very! A policy needs to be clear and concise in its structure and procedures. If you aren’t explaining the terms or the consequences you could potentially end up with a problematic HR process and unresolvable tribunal cases. If an employee has sight of a straightforward policy they will know what to expect if the terms are breached, not to mention enforcing it should be equally as straightforward. It is also important to state why the policy is in place – i.e. to protect the workforce, the public and the company reputation.
Is it important to state cut-offs in substance misuse policies?
For alcohol, yes, most certainly. For drugs, not so much. An alcohol test with a home office approved breathalyser will provide an evidential result, which can be directly related to a ‘site cut-off’ (in the same manner as the existence of a road legal limit). Workplace drug testing should adhere to specific guidelines set-out by the EWDTS (European Workplace Drug Testing Society) in not just it’s procedures, but also its expected substance cut-offs. The cut-offs differ between substances so it’s not quite as straightforward. My suggestion would always be, if you feel it necessary to include drug cut-off information, refer to the EWDTS guidelines, they’re available to download on the EWDTS website if anyone needs sight, but ensure your provider is working to them and don’t go into full details, it’ll serve only to add unnecessary bulk to what should ideally be a streamlined policy.
How effective has workplace testing been in helping companies reduce the risk of drug & alcohol use?
From personal experience I can tell you, I’ve seen companies implement a policy/testing practice due to an awareness of substance misuse, only to reduce the volume of testing over time as the approach has proved successful in reducing or eradicating the specific problem. I’d say that’s a testament to implementing a random testing practice, it sends a sensible message in a fair and balanced manner, which ultimately gets results. If it’s done right, it’s going to be beneficial, even if it’s not particularly well received at its inception. Other examples where testing volume has been scaled back have led to an increase in the rates of positives demonstrating that an active testing programme is a deterrent to substance misuse.
Going forward, what industries do you see adopting a more proactive approach in use of substance misuse testing?
Likely most industries, every company has a duty of care to staff, contractors, visitors and/or the public. There will always be industries that don’t agree, don’t want to uncover issues or don’t believe they exist, but it’s the people that matter and the more that’s done to promote safety, welfare and overall good practice, the more industries will settle to the idea.
About Randox Testing Services
Randox Testing Services offer a wide range of products and services for the testing of illicit substances. We can craft customised packages to suit the needs of our customers, no matter what the industry.
Our expertise and experience working within this industry allow us to provide a range of testing solutions that will impact the risk of substance use in the workplace. With an extensive collection network and quality products, we can meet the needs of your business.
To find out more, contact us:
Phone: +44 (0) 28 9442 2413
Molecular Testing on the Evidence Investigator
The Evidence Investigator is a compact, semi-automated benchtop analyser which is renowned for its versatility, robustness and effective reporting methods. The Evidence Investigator has offered efficient and comprehensive testing in a wide range of laboratory settings for many years including, clinical diagnostics, molecular, research, toxicology and food diagnostics.
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It is extremely well equipped to provide reliable and accurate results because results are generated using Charge Coupled Device (CCD) camera, which quantifies chemiluminescent light. The light then measures the degree of binding between the sample and specific biochip bound ligands. The Evidence Investigator image processing software translates light signal generated from chemiluminescent reactions into analyte concentrations which removes the need for any manual processing of data.
Our molecular product range offers diagnostic, prognostic and predictive solutions across a variety of disease areas including sexually transmitted infection (STI), respiratory tract infection, colorectal cancer, familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Additionally, we can provide a wide range of assay formats including single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) genotyping, pathogen detection and mutation detection. The technology allows simultaneous detection of multiple analytes from a single sample for efficient and cost-effective testing.
STI and Respiratory Arrays
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) affect more than 1 million people every day and each year 500 million new cases of STIs occur.1 Therefore, it is vital for early and accurate detection. Randox’s Sexually Transmitted Infections Multiplex Array simultaneously detects 10 bacterial, viral and protozoan including primary, secondary and asymptomatic co-infection for a complete infection profile. The assay is based on a combination of multiplex PCR and biochip array hybridisation. Innovative PCR priming technology permits high discrimination between multiple targets.
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Both arrays detect the most common and frequently requested infections in sexual and respiratory health. These comprehensive, highly sensitive and specific tests enable identification of co-infections simultaneously, often in asymptomatic patients and enable antibiotic stewardship.
KRAS, BRAF, PIK3CA Array and Familial Hypercholesterolemia Arrays I & II
The colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer worldwide. Overall, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is: about 1 in 22 (4.49%) for men and 1 in 24 (4.15%) for women.3 The KRAS, BRAF, PIK3CA Array simultaneously detects 20 point mutations within the KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA genes. The assay is validated for use with the DNA extracted from fresh/frozen and formalin fixed paraffin embedded tissue. The array is CE marked for routine clinical use.
Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a genetic disorder of lipoprotein metabolism. 4It is the most common autosomal dominant, or inherited disease and affects the plasma clearance of LDL-cholesterol, resulting in premature onset of cardiovascular disease and higher mortality risk.5 Early diagnosis is crucial as by the time the FH sufferer enters early adulthood they will have accumulated >20 years of continuous exposure to build up of fatty or lipid masses in the arterial walls and are at the hundred-fold greater risk of a heart attack than other young people. The Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH) Arrays I & II are rapid, simple and accurate detection of 40 FH-causing mutations within the LDLR ApoB and PCSK9 genes.
These unique biochip assays permit high discrimination between multiple targets in several genes with a rapid turnaround time (3 hours). The arrays enable detection of the most frequently occurring mutations known to cause disease (FH) and adversely affect patient treatment (KRAS, BRAF, PIK3CA). A unique primer set is designed for each target which will hybridise to a complimentary oligo-nucleotide probe spotted on a biochip discrete test region (DTR).
Cardiovascular Risk Prediction Array
Coronary Heart Disease is the leading cause of death in the developed world and its prevention is a core activity for public health systems worldwide.6 Randox have the Cardiac Risk Prediction Array which will allow for 19 SNPs to be genotyped simultaneously, which incorporate a test to identify patients predisposed to statin-induced myopathy.
This array identifies individuals with a genetic predisposition to coronary heart disease (CHD). The innovative multiplex primers are designed to discriminate DNA sequences which differ only at one base.
For more information on our Evidence Series or Molecular range of Assays, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org