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Carrying out a breathalyser test? Here's steps to ensure you conduct it legally

by , 29 July 2013
You probably know that if your employee shows any signs of being under the influence of alcohol you can ask him to take a breathalyser test (provided you have a policy in place). But do you know how to conduct this breathalyser test in a legal manner? Here are nine steps you can use to carry out a legally compliant breathalyser test.

A breathalyser test is used to measure the blood alcohol level of a person by means of a device called a breathalyser. This device measures the blood alcohol content (BAC) from the breath of a person. The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.5% or 0.24mg per 1000ml breath, explains the Health and Safety Advisor.

While breathalyser tests are a useful tool for combating the growing problem of alcoholism in the workplace, it's crucial you carry out the test in a legal manner. If you don't, you could find yourself at the labour court for unfair labour practice.

To ensure you avoid this, follow these nine steps when carrying out a breathalyser test.

Use these nine steps to carry out a legally complaint breathalyser test

  1. Get permission from your employee for the test in writing.
  2. Have a proper 'test sheet' listing the physical signs that have prompted you to conduct the test in the first place. These signs could include bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and the smell of alcohol on your employee's breath.
  3. Make sure your employee knows he has the right to have his own representative at the time of the test.
  4. You must also have a representative present on your behalf.
  5. Make sure there's a witness present at the time of the test.
  6. The test must be conducted by a person trained in the equipment used for the test.
  7. Explain the process of the test to your employee.
  8. It's important you also explain the proposed sanctions if your employee is found under the influence of alcohol.
  9. Document the time the test was taken. You must also include the names of witnesses present at the time of the testing.

All of the above serves as evidence that your employee has consumed alcohol or appears to have consumed alcohol.

Make sure you follow these steps to ensure you conduct a legally compliant breathalyser test.

Turn to chapter B03 of your Health and Safety Advisor to read about the three types of breathalyser tests you can conduct in your workplace.

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