Employee Alcohol Screening

Transdermal fingerprint technology is used to prevent an alcohol related incident by blocking access at employee entrances. Digital or Single-use breathalyzers are used to confirm and document the presence of alcohol.

The correlation between breath and blood alcohol results is well documented and the results of these tests are commonly used as evidence of impairment or “fitness for duty.”

When Can You Test Employees?

Employers can proactively screen for alcohol as a blanket policy and/or specific individuals when there is reasonable suspicion of impairment at work. This would be deemed a safety management policy, particularly if the nature of the business is high risk like driving or operating heavy machinery.

Breathalyzer tests may be performed at a third-party location or on-site at the employer’s location by a trained breath alcohol technician (BAT). A presumptive positive alcohol test obtained using any type of collection device will also need to be confirmed by a credentialed lab testing service.


How Fast Should A Reasonable Suspicion Test Be Performed?

As fast as possible. Employers sometimes wait too long because they are busy doing other things or because they are conducting a factual investigation. But alcohol metabolizes in the human body very quickly, so reasonable suspicion alcohol tests must be conducted immediately to screen for low breath-alcohol-content or within eight hours for heavy drinkers.

Create A Drug & Alcohol Policy

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s drug and alcohol testing regulations apply to a specific group of employees and no one else. Employers sometimes believe that they can take a DOT drug and alcohol testing policy and apply it to everyone in the organization. This is a serious mistake because drug and alcohol testing of non-DOT-regulated employees is instead governed by applicable state and local laws.

State And Local Drug Testing Laws Vary Widely.

Some states and cities have specific drug and alcohol testing laws. It is critical for employers to become familiar with the state and local testing laws applicable to their workforce. Some jurisdictions regulate the types of testing that may be conducted, the specimens and drugs that may be tested, the requirements for notifying employees of positive test results, as well as the disciplinary consequences that may be imposed for testing positive. (Five states do not permit employers to fire an employee who tests positive for the first time.)

Many states do not have drug testing laws, and employers in those states often believe it is not necessary to have a written drug testing policy (for non-DOT-regulated employees). But a written testing policy is a best practice in all states. Some state and local drug testing laws provide aggrieved employees with a private right of action to sue their employers, along with significant financial remedies.

Trained Breath Alcohol Technician (BAT)

Once a drug and alcohol testing policy are ready to be implemented, the company should train all supervisors to ensure that they understand the policy and know how to enforce it. Without such training, supervisors often do not read the policy or assume that the Human Resources Department (or someone else) will enforce it. 


Refusing To Test?

Many workplace drug and alcohol testing policies do not define "refusing to test" and provide no disciplinary consequences for it. This is a serious mistake because employees routinely engage in evasive behaviors to avoid a drug or alcohol test. Such behaviors may constitute "refusing to test" and should lead to termination.

Employers with a comprehensive drug testing policy as part of their drug-free workplace program often include reasonable suspicion testing, also known as for-cause or probable-cause testing. Reasonable suspicion testing must be based on individualized suspicion of a particular employee, and employers need to document objective facts that would suggest to a reasonable person that the individual is under the influence in violation of company policy. Supervisors, managers, and HR professionals should be trained in recognizing the signs of substance abuse in the workplace.

When an employee is suspected of being under the influence, firsthand observation should be made immediately by more than one supervisor or manager. Some examples of the signs an employer may observe are described below.

When two or more members of management make observations significant enough to warrant reasonable-suspicion drug testing, this should be documented and explained to the employee being sent for testing.

Testing for Confirmation

Think Twice Single-Use Breathalyzers contain crystals in the viewing window that change color based on a range from 0.00% to 0.08% breath-alcohol-content (BAC).

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Transdermal fingerprint scanner.

Screening for Prevention

SOBRsafe delivers employee alcohol screening using transdermal fingerprint technology. Their compact devices control access to specific work areas or vehicles.