County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service takes health and safety very seriously indeed and has had a drugs and alcohol policy in place as part of its health and safety management system since September 2008. Until recently it relied on a third party to carry out drugs testing but, following a change to the Draeger DDT5000 non-invasive drug testing system, the Service has not only improved the speed of the results but everyone finds the system easier, more cost effective and less embarrassing to use.
Colin Bage, Risk Reduction Manager at County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service explains, “We have a duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of all of our employees, as well as those who may be affected by their actions. For this reason and as part of our drugs and alcohol policy, we test all employees following a vehicle accident and when a personal accident results in a lost time injury. The test is just one stage of the incident investigation into establishing the root cause of an accident. Additionally the policy also allows a ‘with cause’ test to be carried out should an employee’s behaviour suggest that they are impaired by drugs.
He adds, “At times, staff found our previous method of collection embarrassing and some found it difficult to provide a sample. Using a simple oral fluid sampling process, the Draeger DDT 5000 is a lot easier to administer and there are no issues over privacy or embarrassment.
“The system is also hygienic producing fast results that are unambiguous and are easily printed out there and then, with a copy being given to the donor and a further printout being retained as part of the accident investigation record.”
There are other benefits too. He adds “Not only do our employees prefer the system because it is quicker, more private and does not involve anyone from outside the Service, but it also provides improved value for money. The average cost of a urine sample check by a third party is approximately £100 whereas the average cost of a Draeger DDT 5000 test is just £20 for the test kit. Obviously we had to buy the test system too but the reduction in test costs will offset the cost of the system in less generic phentermine no prescription than a year.
“An effective drugs and alcohol policy means that we can provide the right balance between raising awareness of drug and alcohol misuse and offering support mechanisms if employees need them. It also means that we can take the correct management action in terms of discipline if we need to.
He concludes, “We also use Draeger breath alcohol test systems for similar situations and are confident that we are offering the best possible solution to meet the needs of our employees as well as the requirements of current health and safety legislation. As an added benefit, the speed and convenience of the Draeger systems has greatly helped us to gain acceptance of drug and alcohol testing within the Service.”
About the Draeger DDT 5000
The Draeger DrugTest 5000 drug detection system detects six different substance categories simultaneously, within just a few minutes. Non-invasive, hygienic and easy to use, it is ideal for use in a wide range of both stationary and mobile applications.
The system analyses oral fluid samples as a preliminary test for traces of opiates, cocaine, cannabinoides, amphetamines and designer drugs and tranquilisers of the Benzodiazepine group. Extremely sensitive, it is able to detect even the smallest trace of drugs in oral fluid samples and virtually excludes interference from other substances. (When compared to laboratory oral fluid tests, the DrugTest 5000 achieves an overall accuracy of more than 95 per cent.)
Comprising two main components, the Draeger DDT 5000 Test Kit and the Draeger DDT 5000 Analyser, this lightweight, portable in design is also suitable for stationary use. More discrete and hygienic for both the donor and administrator than alternative procedures such as urine sampling, it also allows continuous observation. As a result, it eliminates the risks associated with sample manipulation and/or contamination and ensures a fast, reliable result.
The Analyser is able to store the number, progression and results of up to 500 tests. Any user and device errors can also be documented and read. In addition and for those applications where an immediate printed report is required, an infrared interface allows the system to be connected to a mobile printer.
For further information contact Customer Service, Draeger Safety UK Limited, Ullswater Close, Blyth Riverside Business Park, Blyth, Northumberland, NE24 4RG. Tel: 01670 561200, fax: 01670 356266, www.draeger.com.