Alcohol testing is an extremely well used and respected form of occupational testing Canada. Most employers use breath alcohol as one of their standard tests for pre-employment, pre-access, reasonable suspicion, post-incident and random testing.
Express Testing: Breath Alcohol
Express testing refers to a ‘quick screen’ alcohol test or breath alcohol test. This method of alcohol testing is commonly used and widely accepted in the occupational testing community. Testing provides a quantitative result as to whether or not alcohol is detected in the workers/candidates breath.
If the worker has a negative alcohol screen, no further testing is required and results will be available within 2 hours of testing completion.
If the worker has a non-negative alcohol screen, one more breath alcohol test will be administered 15 minutes after the first test to confirm the result. If the confirmation test also detects alcohol, the test will be considered a positive and the alcohol result will be provided in numeric form, ex. 0.04 BAC.
Lab-Based Testing: Urine
Urine lab-based testing can be completed for alcohol detection. However, it is rarely used in an occupational setting as the window of detection is approximately 80 hours and impairment or recent use cannot be determined.
Initially Health and Hearing Conservation Consultants completes a full adulteration screen at the time of collection for lab-based samples to ensure the sample’s validity. This screen will indicate whether a worker is attempting to mask the results of their screen, or if there is a legitimate issue that would invalidate the test (ex. drinking too much water). If a problem is detected during the adulteration screen, additional samples may be required prior to completing the drug screen. Please contact us for more information about Health and Hearing Conservation Consultants’ adulteration protocols.
Once the sample is collected, a chain of custody is complete and the sample is sent directly to the laboratory for initial screening. Health and Hearing Conservation Consultants utilizes the services of Gamma Dyanacare Medical Laboratories which has a full lab in London, Ontario and an initial screening lab in Edmonton, Alberta.
If the worker has a negative alcohol screen, results are typically available within 24-48 hours of collection.
If the worker has a non-negative alcohol screen an MRO review will occur prior to releasing the final result as either Positive or Negative. This process typically takes between 48 and 72 hours from the time of testing.
Alcohol Effects by BAC
|0.02–0.03||No loss of coordination, slight euphoria and loss of shyness. Mildly relaxed and maybe a little lightheaded.|
|0.04–0.06||Feeling of well-being, lower inhibitions, and relaxation. Judgment is slightly impaired. Minor impairment of reasoning and memory, and less cautious. Your behavior can become exaggerated and emotions (ex. happiness or sadness) felt more intensely.|
|0.07–0.09||Impairment present in everyone. Driving skills such as vision, steering, lane changing and reaction time are impaired along with balance, speech, and hearing. Feelings of Euphoria in some. Self-control and caution are reduced. Riskier behaviors displayed. Judgment, reason and memory suffer. You are likely to believe that you are functioning better than you really are.|
|0.08||It is illegal to drive at this level.|
|0.10–0.12||Significant impairment to motor coordination and loss of good judgment. Speech may be slurred; balance, vision, reaction time and hearing will be impaired. Probably not thinking straight.|
|0.13–0.15||Very obviously drunk. Severe impairment to judgment, perception, and major motor skills. Very slow reaction time. Blurred vision, loss of balance and slurred speech. Feelings of well being starting to be replaced by anxiety and restlessness (dysphoria). Vomiting common.|
|0.15||At this level, you are 380 times more likely to be in a fatal crash than you are sober.|
|0.16–0.19||The drinker has the appearance of a “sloppy drunk.” At this point, most drinkers begin to feel incapacitated. Many social drinkers will pass out. Nausea begins to set in and the drinker has difficulty focusing on any object.|
|0.17||The average BAC among fatally injured drivers is 0.17, which is also the average BAC nationally for persons arrested for drunk driving.|
|0.20||Out of it. Confused. Dizzy. Requires help to stand or walk. If injured may not feel the pain. Nausea and vomiting. The gag reflex is impaired and you can choke if you do vomit. Blackouts are likely.|
|0.25||All mental, physical and sensory functions are severely impaired. Near total loss of motor function control. Increased risk of asphyxiation from choking on vomit and of seriously injuring yourself by falls or other accidents.|
|0.30–0.40||Extremely life threatening. You have little comprehension of where you are. You may pass out suddenly and be difficult to awaken. Complete unconsciousness. Coma is possible. This is the level of surgical anesthesia. Death may occur.|
|0.45+||Death will occur in most people|