Breathalyzers and Alcohol Testing Kits in the UK
Are you aware of the importance of alcohol testing kits? In the UK, where the legal limit for driving is set at 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 milliliters of breath, these kits are crucial. They not only ensure compliance with the law but also promote sound judgment and behavior.
The workplace is another arena where alcohol testing plays a vital role for various industries, promoting safety and productivity. As an illustration, a study conducted by the Considerate Construction Scheme in the UK found that 35% of construction industry workers have observed fellow workers being under the influence while at work, and a majority, 59%, have expressed apprehensions about the use of drugs and alcohol in the sector.
To make the most of breathalyzer testing, follow this concise step-by-step guide for effective alcohol testing.
How Alcohol Testing Kits Work
Alcohol testing is essential to measure alcohol levels, with various sample options like hair, saliva, blood, and urine. Among these, breathalyzers take the lead as the most popular and effective choice.
Breathalyzers are straightforward and precise. You breathe into a disposable mouthpiece, causing a chemical reaction with the exhaled alcohol. This reaction results in a visible color change in the device's tube, which a color chart helps interpret.
While other kits use different samples, they share the same goal: assessing alcohol levels.
Breathalyzers, known for their accuracy and user-friendliness, stand out as a top choice for alcohol testing.
Please do not hesitate to contact our friendly Drug Testing Kits UK Customer Service Team to discuss your specific needs!
Types of Breathalyzers
As mentioned earlier, breathalyzers use the breath to test for alcohol concentration levels in one’s body. There are three types of breathalyzers, as explained below.
Preliminary breath test breathalyzer – A preliminary breath test, also called a PBT, is an on-site breathalyzer often used by law enforcement officers to determine the blood alcohol content level in a motorist’s system. The PBT is usually a small portable device that has a mouthpiece that one blows into. The device then calculates the alcohol concentration in one’s system and gives the results in minutes. In the UK, for a PBT to be used by police officers, it must have Home Office Approval for police use.
The Drager Alcotest 7510 Breathalyzer and the Drager Alcotest 6820 Breathalyzer are two examples of breathalyzers used by the UK police.
Evidential breath testing breathalyzer – If a driver is arrested because they’re suspected of an alcohol-related driving offense, they are expected to take an evidential breath test. The police will use an evidential breath testing breathalyzer to check the alcohol level in the person’s system. The evidential breath testing breathalyzer is more accurate and larger than a PBT breathalyzer.
Personal breathalyzer – Breathalyzers are used by other professionals other than police officers. For instance, correction officers, doctors, probation officers, and employers also use breathalyzers. Parents can also use personal or home breathalyzers to monitor their children.
How to Use Breathalyzers?
Proper usage of breathalyzers in the workplace is essential to ensure accurate and reliable results in alcohol testing. Follow this step-by-step guide to conduct alcohol testing effectively:
Preparation: Calibrate the breathalyzer as per the manufacturer's instructions to ensure accuracy. Ensure the employee hasn't consumed alcohol for at least 15 minutes before testing.
Collecting a Breath Sample: Instruct the employee to place their lips around the mouthpiece of the breathalyzer. Ask them to take a deep breath and blow steadily into the mouthpiece until the test is complete.
Reading the Results: The breathalyzer will display the blood alcohol content (BAC) within seconds. Record and interpret the result following workplace policies and legal limits.
Documentation and Reporting: Document the test details, including the date, time, and the employee's name. Report the results according to workplace protocols.
When to Use Breathalyzers in the Workplace
Knowing when and how to use breathalyzers in the workplace is essential to maintain safety and compliance.
Common Workplace Scenarios Requiring Alcohol Testing
Safety-Sensitive Roles:Employees in safety-sensitive roles, such as truck drivers, heavy machinery operators, and healthcare professionals, may be subject to regular alcohol testing to ensure safety on the job.
Post-Incident Testing:After workplace accidents or incidents, alcohol testing may be required to determine if alcohol impairment played a role.
Random Testing:Some employers conduct random alcohol testing to deter alcohol consumption during working hours and promote a drug-free workplace.
Ensuring Accuracy in Workplace Alcohol Testing
Accuracy is paramount in workplace alcohol testing, and employers must be vigilant in their approach.
Factors Influencing Accuracy
Several factors can influence the accuracy of breathalyzer results in workplace testing, including calibration, user training, and adherence to testing protocols.
Maintaining High Accuracy Standards
Employers must maintain high accuracy standards by regularly calibrating breathalyzers, providing proper training to testing personnel, and implementing rigorous testing procedures.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1 Are personal breathalyzers suitable for workplace testing?
Personal breathalyzers are generally not recommended for workplace testing, as they may not meet the required accuracy standards. Employers should use professional devices like the Intoximeter Alco-Sensor FST® Breathalyser designed for workplace use.
2 Is it Safe to Test Other People with the Same Breathalyzer?
A breathalyzer kit has a disposable mouthpiece that should only be used by one person. It’s unsafe to use a disposable breathalyzer mouthpiece for more than one person as this can transmit viral and bacterial infections from one person to another. To ensure a breathalyser is safe, the person administering the test should always ensure that they use a new, clean, and uncontaminated mouthpiece for every test.
3 How Accurate Are Portable Alcohol Breathalyzers?
Portable alcohol breathalyzers, like the ones used by police officers, are very accurate, with a 0.001% margin of error. However, the accuracy of the portable breathalyzer will also depend on other factors, such as the sensor technology used. For instance, a breathalyzer that uses fuel cell sensors will be more accurate than the one using a semiconductor sensor. Other factors that may affect a breathalyzer’s accuracy include environmental factors, such as the presence of smoke and other chemicals.
4 Can employees refuse workplace alcohol testing?
In the UK, employees generally have the right to refuse workplace alcohol testing. However, refusal may have consequences depending on company policies and the nature of the job.
5 How can employers ensure employee cooperation with workplace alcohol testing?
Open communication, clear policies, and education on the importance of workplace alcohol testing can help promote employee cooperation and understanding.