Breath Alcohol Testing

Excessive use of alcohol can lead to serious problems in the workplace. According to OSHA,
“employees who abuse alcohol are five times more likely to file a work comp claim and are more
likely injure themselves or someone else.” This creates a major concern for employers,
especially employers with fleet vehicles. Due to these concerns, companies create and enforce
a drug policy that includes alcohol.

With almost 30 years of occupational medical experience, it’s safe to say we have seen several
alcohol related incidents. Because of this experience, we are able to help assist employers with
their drug screening policies. A company should have a solid foundation for their drug screen
policy that is clearly listed in an employee handbook. There are several reasons to incorporate
the BAT in the drug screening policy such as:

  • Reasonable suspicion — Also known as probable-cause. This should include
    documented reports of witnessed events of alcohol use while on the job including smell
    of alcohol, poor performance, excessive break, etc.
  • Post-accident — Occurring when an employee has injured themselves, co-workers,
    bystanders, or property. This is the most common protocol for mandating a BAT.
  • Random testing — A policy that can be implemented by the company to pick an
    employee without warning to ensure employee handbook guidelines.
  • Mandated — Certain industries such as the United States Department of Transportation
    (DOT) and the United States Department of Defense (DOD) require a BAT due to their
    safety standards.

At I & O Medical Centers we utilize the same breathalyzer as Virginia State Police. This machine
is capable of testing for both DOT or non-DOT standards. Each of our 4 clinics calibrate the
machine every morning to ensure accuracy and have a certified technician always available to
perform the BAT. Our protocol ensures accuracy by doing an initial BAT and a confirmation
BAT. By doing this, the test results would stand in a court of law should a situation arise to this
severity. If you feel your company should incorporate BAT in your protocol or if you have
questions regarding BAT, please contact any of our offices today!

 

Cites:
Anonymous, Drug and Alcohol Awareness, Slide 87, December 2017, PowerPoint Presentation
Sources:
https://www.osha.gov/dte/grant_materials/fy09/sh…/drug_alcohol_awareness.pptx
https://www.thebalance.com/breath-alcohol- tests-for- employment-2062138

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