The Rise of Drug and Alcohol Testing

The Rise of Drug and Alcohol Testing

Published: 05/11/2018

The UK’s growing drugs culture has resulted in a rapid increase in workplace drug and alcohol testing by businesses in the UK.

According to recent studies, Cocaine and Cannabis are the most common drugs detected in the workplace, along with abuse of prescription medication, principally codeine.

In order to keep their staff safe and avoid possible workplace accidents, employers are actively implementing their own drug and alcohol testing policies. 


Surprisingly, drug and alcohol testing is only legally mandatory within the rail industry and for tracked vehicles like trams. For everyone else, the responsibility for the safety of their workers, drivers and the public lies with the company and its directors. To do this they must not only implement policies but also be seen to be following actual testing procedures, which will help them comply with regulations and guidelines set out in the Health and Safety at Work Act. Companies will be inspected by the Health and Safety Executive for compliance post-incident or sometimes at random. 

The Health and Safety at Work Act places a duty on every employer to ensure… the health and safety at work of all his employees.

One of the increasingly likely implications post-accident involving a fatality is prosecution for non-compliance under the Corporate Manslaughter Act and it is individual managers and directors that will be apportioned personal responsibility.

This can mean personal unlimited fines and even jail terms. 

Corporate Manslaughter

The implications of letting drug and alcohol abuse go unchallenged in the workplace are such that a wider selection of businesses in many other sectors including the construction industry, aviation, manufacturing, transportation and logistics (increasingly home delivery and company grey fleets) are now updating their existing drug and alcohol testing policies. It is for this reason many Managers and Directors are moving from a list of policies and driving a much greater focus on practical health and safety in their company’s workplace. Businesses are making their policy work to protect the company, it’s directors, managers, staff and customers by implementing actual drug and alcohol screening.


In order to test their staff for drugs and alcohol, employers must have consent from their employees. This consent (given again at the time of screening) usually comes in combination with a contractually agreed health and safety policy, which should be in their contract or staff handbook.

Employees may, of course, refuse their consent to a drug or alcohol test. To circumvent this potential issue, businesses ensure that the refusal to take part in these tests is viewed as gross misconduct, resulting in disciplinary action. This will be included in the employee’s contract and the company’s drug and alcohol testing policy. It is our experience that the majority of any workforce is happy to comply with actual testing as they understand the purpose is to make their workplace safer. 

“Safe work and Safe Home”

A simple solution

D.Tec can supply you with a complete starter kit containing all you need to create an effective Drug & Alcohol Policy along with all the practical procedures for your business. This complete "Starter Kit" can with only a few hours of work, create a policy to help cover you, your fellow managers, colleagues, staff and customers.

This includes:

•    Drug & Alcohol Policy construction worksheet

•    DrugWipe Dual drug screeners

•    Drager 5820 breathalyser

•    A 30-minute telephone consultation with a drug and alcohol specialist

By using high quality, reliable equipment you can be confident that you have, and are seen to be operating a Drug and Alcohol policy which fulfils your duties under the Health & Safety at Work Act.

We only supply products from the best manufacturers in the world. 

Drug testing

The DrugWipe Dual 5 Minutes Saliva & Skin Drug Screener is unique in that it combines the fast saliva results with the longer time frame skin wipe result. This provides a world-beating screening time window which is very similar to urine testing but without the inconvenience, offence or cost of taking a urine sample. 

Once a non-negative screening result (positive) is seen, D.Tec offer a fully accredited urine confirmation sample collection and laboratory analysis service, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This will provide a legally defensible result, thereby protecting your business against any potential unfair dismissal claims. This service is available to all customers who have registered with us.

The innovative DrugWipe system with its’ fast and accurate results is supplied by us in a Home Office Type Approved form to every police force in England & Wales.

Alcohol testing

The Drager Alcotest 5820 breathalyser is simple to operate despite being one of the most sophisticated workplace breathalysers available.  Using a UK police specification sensor, results seen by the 5820 can be written on company paperwork or consent forms and signed as correct by the employee and the screener saving any need for a costly printer. 

The Alcotest 5820 is capable of a 5-second passive test held in front of the employee's mouth without a mouthpiece. If the first screen confirms alcohol, then after 20 minutes a second test will provide a result to be used for disciplinary meetings and possible termination of employment.

Keeping the breathalyser within the recommended 6-month re-calibration makes the readings defendable in either arbitration or a court of law, thereby protecting your company and your management.

Buying from D.Tec means we will send out reminders to return the 5820 to us for recalibration every 6 months. The breathalyser will be re-calibrated to police specification tolerance and returned to you by overnight courier in a market leading time of just 2 working days.

Everything you need

In addition to the DrugWipe and Alcotest 5820 equipment, our starter kit provides you with a consultation with one of our drug and alcohol testing experts, just to make sure you have everything in place.

Our Starter Kit is only £995 and contains

•    5 x DrugWipe Dual 5 minutes with Instructions and training guide.

•    1 x Drager 5820 breathalyser with 100 x breathalyser tubes

•    1 x Recalibration at 6 months

•    Full Instructions to safely operate all equipment.

•    Drug & Alcohol Policy construction worksheet

•    A 30-minute telephone consultation with a D.Tec specialist

•    Registration with our recommended 24hr/7 days a week 2hr confirmation collection agency.

The reassurance you are choosing the right partner

As well as supplying all 43 police forces in England and Wales and the MOD with DrugWipe, D.Tec also work with Government agencies and hundreds of corporate clients, smaller businesses and other organisations. This means we are best placed to assess your operation and recommend a suitable policy or amend a current one.

We also provide other services such as training for management and advice on education for the staff and employees. We can assist in the implementation of pre-employment, random and with cause screening for drugs and alcohol. Each of these processes is backed up by confirmation systems that are legally defensible.

D.Tec is also preferred supplier for Aviva insurance and recommended by many other leading brokers and insurance companies. 

We are happy to answer any questions you may have and offer our expert advice

You can call us on 0800 371898 or contact us

Tags: Drug and Alcohol Testing

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