Drug Alcohol Testing
The topic of workplace drug screening remains an enigma for many employers who remain unclear as to the current policy and legislation regarding workplace drug screening. Ultima Medical Services Inc. develops implements and monitors the Urine Drug and Alcohol testing Program as per the companies needs in Canada and around the world. We provide DOT & NON-DOT Urine Drug and Breath Alcohol testing.
The essential part of any substance abuse testing program is the final review and reporting of the results.
Ultima Medical Services Inc. Medical Review Officer (MRO) can review and verify the results, discuss them with the individual and determine if there is a substance abuse. The MRO will determine if further testing or action must be taken.
Here are some frequently asked questions we receive from employers interested in establishing a drug and alcohol policy.
Q: Under what circumstances should an Employer/Organization consider developing a drug and alcohol policy?
A: Employers/Organizations that place personnel in Safety Sensitive occupations should consider developing a Drug & Alcohol Program that implements specific screening policies and procedures. The policy is directed at improving the health/safety of the worker, co-workers, organization, and in many cases the general public / environment.
Q: When can an employee be tested under an employer/organization’s policy?
A: Employer/Organizations that have developed and implemented a D&A policy will consider testing individuals in the following situations:
– Pre-employment / pre-access drug and alcohol testing helps to prevent hiring individuals who may be a safety threat to themselves and others in a safety-sensitive workplace. Applicants undergo a drug test after being given a conditional offer of employment. Testing is administered at a medical clinic and any positives are re-tested and confirmed and to ensure court worthy reliability.
– Post incident / post-accident drug and alcohol testing provides data to use as a tool in analyzing the causes of workplace incidents. Testing needs to be done as quickly as possible post-incident. Alcohol testing needs to be done within 8 hours and the drug test needs to be done within 32 hours.
– Reasonable suspicion drug and alcohol testing is performed by trained company management and supervisory personnel to collect data to help confirm or disprove substance abuse.
– Random testing is used with employees returning to work following treatment for drug/alcohol dependence and on a “Relapse Prevention Agreement” with the employer.
Q: If an Employer/Organization employer is conducting pre-employment drug screening, what are the obligations with respect to a positive test?
A: Once the test is confirmed positive by the Medical Review Officer, the employer of a Safety Sensitive workplace may require that the individual undergoes further medical assessment by an appropriate Specialist – the objective being to determine whether or not the individual has a medical condition or dependence problem. This assessment is not generally covered by Provincial Health Care and the costs may be the responsibility of the individual or the prospective employer (depending on the D & A Policy above). Should the applicant NOT proceed with the assessment, the employer would be unlikely to proceed with a Safety Sensitive Job offer.
A number of Companies in the ” Oil Patch” test employees on a regular ” Pre – Access basis” with the goal of the individual having “clean urine” prior to starting his/ her next rotation to a Safety Sensitive workplace.
Q: Who is generally considered a safety sensitive employer/employee?
A: This is determined by the Employer and generally, the focus is on the hazards related to the occupation and workplace.
Q: We had a ‘near miss’ or accident at our work site. Do we have just cause to test for drug/alcohol?
A: Post-incident/post-accident drug and alcohol testing provides data to use as a tool in analyzing the causes of workplace incidents. Testing needs to be done as quickly as possible post incident. Alcohol testing needs to be done within 8 hours and the drug test needs to be done within 32 hours.
Q: Who reviews a drug screening result? What is the role of a Medical Review Officer (MRO)?
A: Only a certified Medical Review Officer can report on D&A test results. The function of the Medical Review Officer is to determine if there is a medical explanation for positive laboratory test results (e.g. prescription medication).
It is important to realize that a “lab positive test” for a substance such as opiates may be in fact be reported as a “negative drug test” once the MRO has reviewed the test and medication use with the individual being tested.
Q: How does the MRO report drug screening results to the Employer/Organization ?
A: The MRO (or assistant) reports tests to the Employer in writing (by Fax) to the previously agreed “Designated Employer Representative” – an individual working within the organization. The DER is the only Employer Representative entitled to review and/or discuss the reports submitted by the MRO and is the link between the Employer and Employee.