Alcohol testing determines the current alcohol (ethanol) level in someone's system. This level is an indicator of whether someone is intoxicated. It can be used to ensure employees can safely perform their duties, because alcohol is a legal substance, an employer needs to prove their worker is impaired while at work.
Different Test Types
There are several ways to test for alcohol levels. A Breath Alcohol Test is the most effective and legally defensible.
Breath Alcohol Testing
Breath alcohol testing is done with a machine called a Breathalyzer. It detects the presence of ethanol, which is released with the carbon dioxide in each breath. Breathalyzers are mobile, so these tests can be completed on site.
Saliva testing involves analyzing the saliva for ethanol levels. If a BAC over 0% is detected- the donor must be given a breath alcohol test to confirm the result, as saliva tests are not admissible in court.
Ethanol (alcohol) can be detected in urine within 90 hours of consumption. This makes it impossible to determine whether someone is currently intoxicated.
Understanding the Results
When a donor is tested their results are given as a Breath/Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level.
- Someone who has not consumed alcohol should have a 0% BAC
- Levels over 0.2% are extremely dangerous and can result in unconsciousness
- The Canadian Model standard is 0.04%, which most companies use in their policies
Following testing, our professional team can help you determine what the results mean for you or your employee. If you are an employer, you will need to consider what has been communicated to your employees in your policies. If you do not have a drug and alcohol policy in place, we can work with you to build one that will follow the best practices that suit your business. Contact us for more information.
Our Breath Alcohol Technicians are certified based on U.S. DOT (United States Department of Transportation) standards. Our Power Centres and Exclusive Testing Facilities, follow the same procedures as police forces across North America.
Alcohol consumption at any level can pose a serious threat on a job site. Alcohol depresses the central nervous system causing lack of inhibition, sedation, and loss of motor control. For all jobs these behaviours negatively impact the productivity and safety of your employees. The signs vary from reduction in worker efficiency to serious incidents which can result in death.
There are many reasons why you might test your employees for alcohol consumption. It's important to understand the rights of your employee, as well as the legal implications of dismissing an employee without proof of their intoxication. Not sure? We can help.
When can I test?
If You are Hiring a New Employee
If you are hiring a new employee you may ask them to complete a pre-employment drug and alcohol test. The employer must require the test to be completed after the candidate has been offered the positon, but before their first day worked. It is the employer’s responsibility to provide a safe workplace, and hire the person most fit for the position. SureHire also provides clients with consultation services on pre-employment background checks, to ensure you have the safest workforce.
If you are interested in Pre-employment background checks click here
If You Need to Gain Access to Site
If you require pre-access drug and alcohol testing to gain access to a worksite, and to meet the requirements of site owners you will need to complete pre-access testing. It is important to know the testing requirements with the individual site owner to make sure you are following proper procedures, as they vary per site. As leaders in occupational testing SureHire can provide pre-access testing wherever you may need, with easy booking, and reliable results you will have a safe workforce and work environment.
If There Was an On-Site Accident or Near Miss
If an accident happens on your job site and you suspect alcohol was a factor, you will want to act quickly to confirm. The Employer will have only eight hours based on DOT regulations from the time of the incident to test the employee. If the test is not administered in those eight hours, the employer must document the reason why.
If you are a current client you have access to our 24 Hour Emergency Testing- to ensure the fastest turn around please call: 1-866-944-4473 ext. 6
If You Have Reasonable Cause
If your employee is visibly intoxicated and acting erratically, you have reasonable cause to test them. Being proactive can ensure you are stopping risky behavior before an accident happens.
We offer both 24-7 emergency testing for clients and on-site testing to accommodate these types of timely tests.
If You Have an Employee Returning to Work
If you have a previous employee returning to work, you may require a return to work drug and alcohol test. Past employees may be returning from a leave of absence, medical leave, substance abuse program etc. This testing ensures you are committed to maintaining a safe workplace for your employees and for your company.
Booking an alcohol test is simple. Get in touch with us:
- Email us via firstname.lastname@example.org
- Live Chat through our website
- For current clients, you can book online
- Call us at 1-866-944-4473
Our Contact Centre Agents can assist you with finding the most convenient location within our extensive Canada-Wide network of faciltiies.
Express Based results are available by the end of the business day, whereas Lab Based results can take up to 2-5 business days. All results are posted in SureLink, SureHire's online results portal where a notification will be sent out to the appropriate individual(s) when the result is ready.
There are many reasons why your employer might choose to test your blood alcohol level. It is important to understand your rights and what to expect when a test is requested.
What to Expect
Before the Test
- Bring your government-issued photo ID (driver’s licence, passport, military ID, etc.) View the full listing of acceptable ID here
- Do not consume alcohol for 24 hours prior to an alcohol test
- You must spit out any gum or tobacco that you have in your mouth as this can affect the quality of the testing
During the Test
- If you are scheduled for a breath alcohol test- you will be instructed by the tester to “empty your lungs” into the disposable tube attached to the breath alcohol testing unit. A fresh tube is used for every person (the tubes are not sterilized and re-used). After you have finished breathing into the unit the tester will be able to see a digital reading of your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) level
- If you are scheduled for a saliva alcohol test, you will be instructed by the tester to insert a saliva kit into your mouth for 60 seconds. Once enough saliva is collected, the tester will be able to read the kit and determine your BAC level
After the Test
- If the results of your alcohol test are above the acceptable level (varies per company) you will receive a confirmation test 15 minutes after the original test was administered. If the BAC is still above the acceptable level, your result will be considered a fail
Know Your Rights
Ensure you understand the expectations of your employer. When you started your job the Drug and Alcohol policy should have been clearly communicated to you. This is usually found in an employee policy manual.
Random testing may be required for your position. This is common in industries where there is significant safety risk. This too should be shared with you prior to accepting your position.
Booking & Location
There are a few options to book your test:
If your employer has an account with SureHire:
- Your employer will arrange an appointment time and location near you
- You'll receive your results from your employer, or they may provide you with a login to our results website
If you're booking for yourself:
- Call our Call Centre @ 1-866-944-4473
- Submit our online appointment form here
- Reach out to us via Live Chat (click the conversation bubble in the bottom right-hand corner)
If you have any questions, please contact us or speak to your employer for more information.
What kind of testing will I be doing?
There are two types of tests that the tester may administer: a saliva test or a breath alcohol test.
What happens if I blow over .000?
If the results of your alcohol test are above the acceptable level (determined by your company), you will receive a confirmation test 15 minutes after the original test was administered. If the BAC is still above the acceptable level, your result will be considered a positive test.
Can I eat or drink before my test?
We ask that you not eat or drink 15 minutes before your test. You will also be asked to spit out any gum or tobacco that you have in your mouth so that it does not affect the quality of the test results.