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Law: Drug and alcohol tests on employees using hair samples

Recent surveys to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) showed 20% of employers carried out some drug/alcohol testing last year.

Only 12% carried out pre-employment screening.

One supplier of testing products, Trimega Laboratories suggest more companies are testing using hair samples.

Whilst you are able to carry out pre-employment screening on request, if you wish to enforce the ability to carry it out at work, the employee should agree to it in writing and/or via the contract of employment.

Generally drug testing should only be carried out as a post incident investigation and there may be a need for professional services as the drugs used may be legal.

The collection of such information is generally only justified on health and safety grounds.

If less intrusive evidence gathering is sufficient then it should be used.

The employee should be told what drugs they are being tested for and why the tests are carried out.

It will generally not be justified to test all workers when only certain groups pose a risk.

It goes without saying that the information must be of the highest technical quality and interpreted by a suitably qualified and competent person.

Workers should be allowed a duplicate of the sample for their own checks.

Visit or call 0870 26 77 118 for more information.

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