Coming clean: Drug and alcohol testing in the workplace

Despite the controversy, especially over random drug testing, laboratories carrying out tests in Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and the UK have reported an increase in demand. In France, Norway and the Netherlands, only workers in “traditional” safety-sensitive positions are subjected to testing in any form. Pre-employment testing for screening purposes is illegal in the Netherlands. In France, only the occupational physician may decide to conduct drug tests, not the employer. Furthermore, in Finland, France, Belgium, Germany and Austria, the result of the test is communicated to the occupational physician, not the employer. The occupational physician is only allowed to inform the employer of whether or not the person is fit for work. Meanwhile, employers in the UK and Sweden believe testing should be applied to all workers in all job types to ensure “business safety” (Ethical issues in workplace drug testing in Europe, Geneva, ILO 2003).

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