Nationwide Workplace Drug-Testing in safety relevant professions

Workplace alcohol and drug testing, in form of random controls, is of increasing importance in safety related sectors. Being forensically accredited, our laboratory offers and performs on-site ADM-testing (alcohol – drug – prescription medicine testing) nationwide.

 

Alcohol and drug tests in safety related sectors

  • Aircraft-operators (pilots and co-pilots), flight attendants, air traffic controllers
  • Employees of passenger or freight traffic (truck drivers, train drivers, ship’s captains, sea traffic controllers)
  • Machine and vehicle operating personnel
  • Construction industry workers and miners
  • Security personnel of military, police and private security service providers
  • Workers in the chemical industry or on oil rigs and refineries
  • Staff of nuclear power plants

Legally it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the compliance of health of and safety regulations and to prevent reckless behaviour of their employees that could lead to the endangerment of themselves or others, for example working under the influence of psychoactive substances. Furthermore, it has to be mentioned that insurance coverage may be restricted, in case of an accident caused under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Performing workplace drug testing, the main goal should be the application of preventative measures, as well as giving employees the opportunity for social, professional and health rehabilitation after the treatment of a drug-addiction.

An agreement between representatives of staff and the employer, stating the conditions under which ADM-testing is permissible is a requirement for these tests. Based on our previous experiences with ADM-testing, we are able to assist in the preparation of “operational agreements”, and give advice regarding practical execution.

Regarding the amendment of §4a of the LuftVG which came into force 13th April 2016, pilots have to be tested randomly for alcohol and other psychoactive substances prior to check-in.

This law allows for drug testing of pilots, not only in suspected cases (e.g. clear conspicuity), but with the goal of detecting recent consumption of alcohol or drugs/medication.

 

The following sample materials and analytical methods are used:

Alcohol consumption can be detected in breath using two different methods. First, a breathalyser test, which is also used by the police for roadside testing, is applied. In case of a positive test result the analysis is repeated using a device whose results can be admitted as evidence before a court.

For on-site drug testing, saliva samples are collected. The advantage of using saliva samples is mix-ups and attempts of manipulation can be completely ruled out. The sample collection is both easy and stress free for the test subject as well as the sample collection officer. The analysed substances are cannabis, cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, opiates and benzodiazepines.

A preliminary positive test result has to be confirmed. Therefore, two saliva samples are collected and taken back to the lab where one of the samples is analysed using chromatographic methods (LC-MS/MS) within 1 – 2 workdays. The remaining sample is sealed and stored for future use.

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