Alcohol and Drug Testing
What is a Drug or Alcohol Test?
It is a test used to determine the appearance, nonappearance of drugs or alcohol in a person’s system. There are a few different ways to collect these specimens.
As for Alcohol, you can collect a specimen through breath, as a breathalyzer test. A collection of urine can be collected and the by-product of ethanol would be detected in this test. We also have saliva, hair and nail testing. It is done in 2 formats: POCT (instant testing) and Lab-based testing. Drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace is a serious problem and liability to many corporate entities.
Having alcohol and drug testing can limit your liabilities and help prevent issues in the future. If alcohol and other drug testing is introduced, we advise that it be one part of a broad company policy on substance abuse. We believe that employers and employees share the responsibility for making sure their co-workers and workplaces are safe.
Things to Consider
Most people do not use drug or alcohol at work.
Some workplaces choose to include testing to improve safety. The following are the many types of employment-related alcohol and drug tests:
- Random drug testing
- Reasonable cause
When an alcohol test is positive, it can show how much a person is impaired. It does not indicate how often someone drinks, or if they have an alcohol problem.
A positive test for other drugs usually means that there are drugs in the human body. It does not indicate how intoxicated someone may be, how often the substance is used, or whether they have a substance abuse issue.
The Manitoba Human Rights Commission takes the following position based on current human rights case law:
“The guideline represents the Commission’s interpretation of the rights that apply to employees in the workplace who use or are directed to use intoxicating substances or substances that may otherwise impair their ability to function in the workplace, and the corresponding responsibilities of employers.”
Employers have the right to establish and enforce policies prohibiting the use of alcohol and drugs in the workplace, in the same way they may enforce no-smoking policies, dress codes or other policies that set expectations around employee behaviour and the work environment.
The policies should be used to maintain safety standards by ensuring employees do not report for work impaired.
Employers need to stay up to date on relevant laws.
To learn more about the Manitoba Human Rights Code, please visit : www.manitobahumanrights.ca.
To learn more about creating a drug and alcohol policy, including employee testing issues, see www.safemanitoba.com.
*** It is not legal advice and should always seek legal counsel when developing their own policy, as each policy should be tailored to the unique needs of their workplace.
Any transportation companies carrying hazardous materials must follow the US DOT regulations. (Aviation, road, train, marine and pipeline)
If you or your staff do not go to the USA, then you are not impacted by DOT regulations. You are a NON- DOT regulated employer.