Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing

Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing

The use of illegal or illicit drugs amongst a workforce can have serious effects on an organisation and its employees.  Production and morale can experience disruption and in more serious cases accidents can cause injury and potentially death.  Recent Corporate Manslaughter legislation places a much greater emphasis on Management’s duty of care to employees and a thorough Drugs and Alcohol policy that incorporates a thorough testing programme helps to demonstrate this.


Having confidence in the process

A positive test can have serious consequences for both the employee and the employer so it is vital that everybody involved can have confidence in every stage of the testing process.

As standard customers should expect: -

  • A UKAS accredited laboratory (Synergy Health has been accredited since 2000)
  • A full Chain of Custody process (Synergy Health adhere to Chain of Custody guidelines as standard)
  • A UKAS accredited Collections Service (Synergy Health has the only UKAS accredited Collections Service)
  • Laboratories to adhere to relevant SAMHSA or UKWDTC guidelines (Synergy Health adheres to each where applicable)


The Testing Process


Chain of Custody

Synergy Health follows rigorous Chain of Custody procedures when undertaking any test, from the collection of the sample right through to the reporting of results. It is vital that an audit trail remains intact should the sample donor wish to challenge the initial result.

Urine Testing

Urine testing remains the mainstay of Drugs of Abuse testing because the sample is relatively easy to collect and analyse and urine provides reasonable timescale for drug detection. Admittedly there is a very slight possibility of adulteration or sample substitution, but Synergy Health has adopted strict collection procedures in an attempt to negate this and provide legally defensible results.

Oral Fluid/Saliva

Testing of Oral Fluid, (whether termed oral fluid, saliva or oral mucosal transudate) is a more recent addition to the testing matrix.  Technically it is more difficult than urine to test as drugs are present in much smaller quantities and the sample is also much smaller. However, oral fluid testing is becoming more popular as the sample collection process is less intrusive compared to urine testing.

Hair Testing

Hair testing is an accepted method for assessing drug use, especially over long periods. Analysis of hair for drugs is useful in legal cases (paternity and custody cases), long term assessment of drug users on rehabilitation programmes or possibly for random or pre-employment testing. Collection of hair samples is somewhat intrusive as the sample required for testing must be at least 3cm long and the thickness of a pencil.

Instant Testing

The testing process for urine and saliva is usually a two stage process in which firstly an instant test is performed to identify evidence of drugs within the body. If the test is negative and no evidence is discovered then no further action is taken. If the test is non-negative and evidence of drugs is discovered then the sample is returned to the laboratory for analysis, following full Chain of Custody procedures.

Laboratory Analysis

Any non-negative instant result is referred back to Synergy Health’s laboratory for confirmation testing. Laboratory testing will provide a clear positive or negative confirmation and an accurate quantity of the drug present. Synergy Health use confirmation processed based on Liquid Chromatography with mass spectrometric detection (LC-MS) and all methods are validated as part of Synergy Health’s UKAS accreditation.

For more detailed information about Laboratory Analysis please click here.



You are contacting:

Synergy Health UK & Ireland Head Office

Ground Floor Stella,
Windmill Hill Business Park,
Whitehill Way,
SN5 6NX United Kingdom

Telephone:+44(0) 8447 280290


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