Surge in number of firms carrying out random drug and alcohol tests

AlphaBiolabs, which carries out DNA testing for ITV’s The Jeremy Kyle Show, says bookings by businesses for random checks soared 34% in December. Tony McDonough reports

AlphaBiolabs
Rachel Davenport, a director at Warrington-based AlphaBiolabs

 

There was a significant rise in the number of companies carrying out random drug and alcohol tests during December, according one North West testing specialist.

AlphaBiolabs, which carries out DNA testing for ITV’s The Jeremy Kyle Show, says bookings by businesses for random checks soared 34% over the festive period compared to the same month in 2017.

It was the Warrington firm’s busiest-ever month and director Rachel Davenport said existing clients have accounted for most of the increase as they step up testing as a deterrent to their workforce.

She said AlphaBiolabs had also seen a 60% rise in new customers. She explained: “Our current clients are performing more scheduled, random drug and alcohol testing than ever before. They see the festive period as a risky season, with more people partying at this time of year, so they want the extra testing to act as a deterrent to their employees.

Yet as well as an increase in requests for on-site testing from existing customers, we are also seeing a surge in interest from new businesses. Employers don’t organise testing to catch people out. Their aim is to deter them from misuse and to keep them safe.

“Because random testing takes place with little or no notice, it can have a positive impact on the workforce by keeping them on their toes. It also greatly reduces the chances of employees using tactics to avoid testing or change their habits to escape a positive result if they are abusing drugs or alcohol.”

Ms Davenport added that workers in safety-critical roles, such as those operating heavy machinery, are most likely to benefit from random testing programmes.

“We support industries such as aviation, construction, logistics and manufacturing, where an employee under the influence could cause significant harm to themselves, their colleagues, the public and the business itself,” she said.

AlphaBiolabs has developed techniques at its laboratory to provide an accurate historical record of drug or alcohol abuse. Hair strands, oral fluids, urine and fingernails can all be tested, with same-day results available.

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