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What Is The Policy For Hand Washing During Drug Testing?

By Andrew David Easler, Esq.

It’s not enough to decide to have a drug-free workplace; guidelines and testing have to be implemented to reinforce this mandate. For some companies, this is done strictly to provide peace of mind and ensure a safer working environment for employees and management. For professional transportation companies, however, this is a legal requirement to stay compliant with the Department of Transportation regulations.

When it comes to the actual testing process, there’s always some confusion about how to conduct the test correctly, especially when it is done for the first time. One area where questions arise is in the washing of hands, but what is required and what is not?

How Tests Are Administered

The most common form of drug testing today involves getting a urine sample. Participants are given a container and required to provide a minimum amount for analysis. Usually, about 30 ml or 1.1 fluid ounces is adequate for testing.

Once the sample has been acquired, it is given to the specimen collector, who takes it to a lab. The lab tests for the presence of metabolites, which are substances left over from the metabolization of drugs. Different drugs leave behind different metabolites. When the results are in, a medical review officer—who is a licensed doctor—confirms the final results and contacts the business to inform them of the outcome.

The Uncertainty

Some participants are confused when it comes to the rule stating that they may wash their hands during the collection process. They are unsure of whether this means the test can be conducted without washing their hands, but that is not entirely the case.

Tampering with a sample is a big issue that collectors strive to prevent. Some people being tested know that their results will come out positive for drug use, but they are unwilling to face the consequences. They may instead attempt to tamper with the sample to produce an inconclusive result.

A measure to prevent this requires participants to wash their hands before submitting their urine sample. However, once the sample has been collected into a container, they now have the option to rewash their hands or not, as preference dictates.

Always A Good Idea

However, whether washing one’s hands is a legal mandate or not is secondary to the fact that it is a safe, hygienic, and highly recommended practice in any situation. In the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, hand wash can mean the difference between avoiding infection and becoming infected then passing that virus onto others.

For more certainty on what the best practices are not just during a drug test but also in maintaining a drug-free workplace, see to it that you are properly educated on the matter. Take courses that will train you in drug-free policy creation, enforcement, and maintenance for a better, safer workplace. You can also learn more about how to get involved in the drug testing industry and provide a vital service to many.

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