As construction sites get back to business, it is incumbent on firms to protect their workforce by making every effort to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. This involves complying with social distancing guidelines where possible, and revising working practices to reduce risk to the lowest practicable level. Drug testing is an essential health and safety consideration for most construction firms and no less important during the pandemic, ensuring that workers are fit for duty and helping to protect employees, customers and the general public.
According to Intelligent Fingerprinting, the traditional workplace drug testing methods used by many construction firms present challenges when it comes to enabling hygienic testing to be carried out while social distancing. Oral fluid tests require the collection of an individual’s saliva, while urine drug tests involve the handling of biohazardous samples. In contrast, the fingerprint drug testing method, which works by collecting an employee’s fingerprint sweat samples onto a small drug screening cartridge, is non-invasive and meets the Government’s key guidelines for supporting social distancing while at work by:
- Enabling employees to self-administer their own fingerprint sample collection, allowing them to keep at least 2m away from the tester
- Avoiding close face-to-face contact or handling of biohazardous body fluids as there’s no requirement for oral swabs or urine sample collection
- Allowing both test administrators and those being tested to wear protective face masks throughout the drug testing process, unlike oral fluid tests where masks need to be removed to collect an oral swab sample
- Removing the need for prolonged proximity during testing as sample collection takes just one minute, with results available in 10 minutes
“Ensuring safe and hygienic drug testing is proving a complex challenge for the construction industry, particularly as Government guidelines recommend trying to keep a 2m distance from other people, minimising the amount of time you spend in close contact, and – if possible – wearing a face covering when in an enclosed space,” explained Intelligent Fingerprinting’s Dr Paul Yates. “Fingerprint testing not only helps solve all these challenges, but the process is really simple, easy to operate and hygienic to use. The test supervisor and the person being tested can remain socially distant at all times.
“And because fingerprint testing is so quick and easy to deploy, construction firms can take control of their own drug testing by conducting the process in-house without the requirement for external testing providers to come on-site and eliminating the the high costs incurred when using third party collection services,” he added.
Fingerprint drug testing, with its 14-16 hour window of detection, is particularly applicable for fitness for duty workplace deployment. Because the system is portable and simple to administer there’s no need for any special preparation before testing. This enables construction firms to run testing programmes themselves in a safe location, removing the need to have external service providers coming on site to carry out sample collections and testing.
Social distancing-compliant drug testing for constructions firms – how it works in practice
Fingerprint-based testing is simple, easy to operate and hygienic to use. The test supervisor and the person being tested can remain socially distant and, if required, wear face coverings at all times. All the user has to do is take the fingerprint drug screening cartridge from its sealed-foil wrapper, press all ten fingerprints in succession onto the sample pad, and then slide the tamper-evident locking cover across to protect the sample from any interference. The user then steps away to allow the tester to collect the cartridge and insert it into Intelligent Fingerprinting’s DSR-Plus mobile reader for results analysis.