Alcohol Testing in the Workplace

Given its widespread availability and high rates of abuse, the risk of alcohol abuse in a workplace setting can lead to severe ramifications for an organization and its employees. Given this risk, many companies perform alcohol testing as a means to reduce risk and potential liability.

Which method works best for your organization?

Cover imageThere are several alcohol testing methods available, which include the use of blood, urine, saliva, hair and breath. These tests vary in terms of detection window, sensitivity and specificity, and correlation with impairment. Certain tests are better suited for point of care testing in post-accident and reasonable suspicion settings (namely breath and oral fluid or saliva) versus in clinical programs for abstinence monitoring (hair and urine alcohol biomarker tests). Also, to determine impairment based on a certain alcohol level, the test should detect alcohol that correlates to the BAC, which is the most direct measure (short of CSF/Cerebrospinal fluid test) of alcohol concentration and effect on the brain.

Each form of testing has unique characteristics and, when used in the right setting, will offer useful information about the presence of alcohol in the body and correlation with impairment.