Drug Testing During the Holidays

Many companies that drug test routinely may benefit from increasing their alcohol and drug testing directly after the holiday season.  This is the time of year when people are attending more parties, having dinners with friends and relatives, and partaking in many celebrations.  Since alcohol can be offered in most of these situations, it is not surprising how rates of drunk driving increase at this time of year, along with hangovers that can last well into the next day.  Unfortunately for employers, the next day may be a work day.  Even people who wouldn’t normally drink may find themselves having a drink or two to combat the stresses of the holiday season or simply to be social.  Many of those who might have a problem with alcohol can feel more at ease during parties as more people are drinking and it seems more acceptable, allowing them to consume more alcohol than their body can handle.

With the high rates of alcohol consumption during the holidays, having employees know about increased alcohol testing (post holiday) might not be a bad idea.  Knowing that there is a possibility of being tested at work, someone could plan their nights ahead ensuring that they do not get very drunk, thereby affecting their work the next day.  A person may be inclined to have one or two drinks, staying under the limit, but still be able to enjoy their night out with friends or family.  Keeping your job is a great motivator to lessening seasonal alcohol abuse.

According to a study done in the United States, construction workers along with handlers, helpers, and laborers constituted 15.7% of heavy alcohol users.1 Hand in hand with construction workers and laborers are heavy equipment operators.  Having a person under the influence of alcohol whilst operating machinery could be disastrous, not only to that person, but to their co-workers and the company as well.  While alcohol abuse is not on the decline2, steps can be taken by companies that wish to educate employees from excessive or binge drinking.  Companies can set up an Employee Assistance Program in which the company can provide short-term counseling, assessment, and referrals to those employees who may need further evaluation.  An employee, who knows that they have somewhere to turn if they need to, may be more willing to seek help.

While workplace alcohol testing may be the deterrent your company needs to avoid potential lawsuits from negligent employees, taking steps to prevent any incidents from occurring may be the best option.


  1. http://www.dol.gov/elaws/asp/drugfree/benefits.htm
  2. http://abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/mf/4832.0.55.001/

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