Drug and alcohol testing nails for recruitment and pre-employment is increasingly common in the workplace and is particularly important to ensure the future safety of a company and its employees. The negative effects of drug and alcohol misuse at work can significantly impact on productivity. The main advantage of pre-employment testing is that it establishes a company ethos for everyone to adhere to. As well as acting as a deterrent, it will discourage substance abusers from applying for a position. Combined with regular workplace drug testing, this will encourage all staff to follow the rules, reducing your potential for revenue loss and legal problems.

Pre-employment testing can form part of a pre-employment medical before taking someone on board. In this way, you can quickly rule out unsuitable candidates for a position before you start training them up, saving you both time and money.

The increased availability of drugs today can lead to major problems for a business and even legal action. As such, there are many sectors that can benefit from pre-employment testing, but this is especially important for safety critical positions, where accidents due to lack of concentration or intoxication can cause major accidents and health and safety breaches.

Why drug and alcohol testing nails for pre-employment?

Nail testing is a preferred option for recruitment and pre-employment drug and alcohol testing because it can give a timeframe of substance use of up to 12 months. In addition, the sample can be easily collected in an unobtrusive manner. Hair testing can also be used for drug and alcohol testing, but this requires a pencil width area of hair to be removed near to the scalp. This is always collected from a discreet area, whenever possible, but depends on the length of hair available.

Other testing options, including breathalysers, oral fluid and urine testing, do not give such a long history of drug or alcohol misuse, and have a window of detection of only hours to days.

Nails also have the advantage of being a highly stable, simple-to-collect and easy-to-transport sample. In the case of drug testing, nail clippings can be tested for methamphetamine, amphetamine, benzodiazepines, cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy (MDMA), ketamine, mephedrone, methadone, opiates and zolpidem. In the case of alcohol testing, about 10 mg of nail can be analysed to detect a specific long-term marker of ethanol (the intoxicating agent in alcohol) called ethyl glucuronide (EtG).

Sample collection for nail drug and alcohol testing

Nail clippings need to be taken as near to the nail bed as possible. If the nail is long (5 mm or above) then only one would be required. If the nails are short then it may be best to take clippings from a couple of nails. Either fingernails or toenails can be used, but the advantage of using toe nails is that there is less potential for contamination. Acrylic nails, Shellac and other forms of nail varnish would need to be removed as this may damage the surface of the nail and impact on the results.

Nail drug and alcohol testing results can be turned around within only 3 days.

More information about drug and alcohol testing nails for recruitment and pre-employment

AlphaBiolabs can create a bespoke workplace drug and alcohol testing programme for your business and implement this policy for a fully managed solution. For a consultation with no obligation, or information on any of our workplace testing services, call us on 0333 600 1300 or email at