Post Incident Drug and Alcohol Testing

The Benefits and Procedure of Post-Incident Drug and Alcohol Testing

In safety-sensitive careers, ensuring the safety and well-being of employees is paramount. Among the strategies adopted by employers is post-incident drug and alcohol testing. In this blog, we’ll delve into the advantages of this testing approach and highlight the steps employers should take when conducting post-incident testing. We will discuss how this process contributes to promoting a workplace culture that prioritizes safety and awareness.

What is Post-Incident Testing?

Post incident drug and alcohol testing is to be completed after an accident/incident or near miss occurs on a worksite. If mechanical issues are ruled out from the cause of the event, post-incident testing is initiated. Each worksite has a clearly defined policy/procedure regarding post-incident testing requirements. It is essential that all parties are aware of the specific testing requirements.

What to Expect During Post-Incidents

If an incident occurs on a job site that is deemed unsafe, causes injury or damage to equipment or the environment it may trigger the need for post-incident drug and alcohol testing. At Commodore Solutions, we understand the workload and stress associated with workplace incidents. Our booking process for such testing is simple and effective. Here’s how it works:

The steps to book such testing with Commodore Solutions are as follows:

  • Text or call Commodore Solutions at 587-832-4441.
  • We will inquire about the following information:
        1. Name of company
        2. Name of supervisor booking the test
        3. Name of employee being tested
        4. Contact phone number and email
        5. Type of testing required
  • An immediate testing time will be arranged. Post-incident testing requires immediate attention.
  • The employee should ALWAYS be transported by a supervisor, company representative or a transportation service, as this is a safety issue.
  • Ensure that the employee has a valid government issued photo identification. It cannot be torn, broken or expired.

If you require a collector to come to your work site, we can organize this in certain situations. Results will be sent immediately to the company representative (DER) for a timely return to work.


Benefits of Post-Incident Testing

The benefits of post incident testing include:

Enhancing Safety: Post-incident drug and alcohol testing is instrumental in maintaining a safe and secure work environment. By identifying any substance-related factors contributing to an incident, employers can take corrective actions to mitigate future risks, prioritizing employees’ safety.

Deterring Substance Use: The process of post-incident testing acts as a powerful deterrent against substance use in the workplace. Employees are more likely to prioritize safety and refrain from engaging in risky behaviors, knowing they may be subject to testing following an incident.

Boosting Productivity: A safe work environment fosters productivity and efficiency. By addressing substance abuse issues through post-incident testing, employers create an atmosphere where employees can focus on their tasks without distraction or concern, leading to improved productivity.

Ensuring Compliance: Post-incident testing helps employers comply with regulatory standards and safety protocols. Conducting testing in a consistent and transparent manner ensures adherence to occupational health and safety guidelines.

Procedure for Employers

Establish Clear Policies: Develop comprehensive policies outlining the procedure for post-incident drug and alcohol testing. Communicate these policies to all employees and ensure they understand their rights and responsibilities.

Immediate Response: Following an incident, initiate testing promptly. While immediate testing is ideal, prioritize employees’ well-being, particularly if medical attention is required.

Select Testing Method: Choose appropriate testing methods based on industry standards and regulatory requirements. When booking with Commodore Solutions, ensure that all parties are aware of the specific testing requirements, including specific drug panels and method of testing- urine/oral fluid, and POCT or lab-based.

Result Reporting: Test results will be promptly sent to the company representative (Designated Employer Representative – DER) to facilitate a timely return to work for the employee.

Offer Support and Rehabilitation: Provide support and resources for employees who test positive for drugs or alcohol. Offer access to counseling, rehabilitation programs, and assistance with addressing underlying issues, emphasizing a supportive approach. Commodore Solutions has access to substance abuse professionals to assist with employee support.


Post-incident drug and alcohol testing is a vital component of workplace safety management, offering numerous benefits for employers and employees. By following a clear procedure and embracing a proactive approach to substance abuse prevention, organizations can create a culture of safety, and promote employee wellbeing. At Commodore Solutions, we take pride in assisting companies efficiently and effectively throughout the post-incident testing process.

To learn more on how Commodore Solutions can help you design and implement your occupational health and safety programs, please contact us.

Benefits of Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs in the Workplace

workplace drug and alcohol testing

One crucial aspect of ensuring workplace safety is implementing a comprehensive drug and alcohol testing program. Companies of all sizes and industries can benefit greatly from having such a program in place as it lowers costs, mitigates safety risks, and reduces company liability. 

Drug use in the workplace can lead to a variety of problems, including accidents, lost productivity, and human error. These issues can be costly to employers in terms of both financial losses and damage to their reputation. Each year substance abuse costs companies billions of dollars. The new Canadian Substance Use Costs and Harms (CSUCH) report states that substance use cost the Canadian economy $49.1 billion in 2020. Lost productivity attributable to substance use cost $22.4 billion or 45.6% of the total costs. This includes turnover rates for employees, unexcused absences, lower productivity, accidents, and increased workers’ compensation claims.  By implementing a drug testing program, employers can identify potential problems with drug use earlier in the process; this can help mitigate these costs and provide support to employees struggling with substance abuse.

Implementing a drug and alcohol testing program can help identify employees who may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, allowing companies to take appropriate action to protect the safety of their workforce. By creating a drug and alcohol-free workplace, companies can significantly reduce the risk of workplace accidents and injuries.

Conducting drug tests can decrease a company’s liability and risk, especially concerning safety matters. By implementing drug testing, employers can potentially detect and address problems before they escalate into major issues. A policy on drug testing also promotes stability and shows that the company is making a reasonable effort to prevent problems. Companies that have employees conducting safety-sensitive or federally regulated work also must have screening programs that meet specific drug & alcohol testing requirements. Implementing a policy that complies with state and federal laws solidifies your blueprint for success.

Commodore Solutions offers a comprehensive range of employee testing services, including Drug and Alcohol Testing. Our testing protocols cover various scenarios, such as pre-employment and pre-access testing, post-incident and reasonable-cause testing, and reasonable-suspicion or random testing that is inline with the industry standard (COAA model).

Legal Considerations or Requirements

Employers may conduct drug or alcohol testing for safety-sensitive jobs. These circumstances include pre-employment, reasonable cause, post-incident, or random testing. However, it’s important to note that drug and alcohol testing in these scenarios are subject to several requirements and restrictions.

So, what is considered a safety-sensitive position? According to the Canada Human Rights Commission, it’s a role where the employee has a direct role in a workplace operation with limited supervision, and impaired performance could result in a catastrophic incident affecting the health and safety of the employee. Additionally, a safety-sensitive position could be one where incapacity due to drug or alcohol impairment could directly injure employees or others in the work environment.

It’s crucial to emphasize that drug testing policies can only be implemented for employees holding safety-sensitive positions.

In conclusion, implementing a comprehensive drug and alcohol testing program is a crucial step for ensuring workplace safety. It not only helps companies to lower costs, mitigate safety risks and reduce company liability, but also provides employees with a safe and healthy working environment. Regardless of the size or industry of the company, a drug and alcohol testing program can play a vital role in protecting the safety of employees and improving overall business performance. By prioritizing workplace safety through such programs, companies can demonstrate their commitment to the well-being of their employees and the success of their business.

A Partner For Drug & Alcohol Testing

Find out how we can partner with you to provide the right testing solution for your needs.  Besides drug and alcohol testing we provide the following services:

To learn more on how Commodore Solutions can help you design and implement your drug and alcohol testing programs, please contact us. 

Hair Testing

Drug and Alcohol Hair Testing

Hair is a reservoir matrix and can provide a significant amount of historical data for drug and alcohol use/abuse. On average, hair grows at a rate of ~0.5 inches/month and 1.5 inches is tested by the lab to represent an approximate window of the past 90 days.

Collecting samples

Head hair is the most ideal sample type, if that is not available we will collect facial hair (we do not collect body hair). Artificial or chemically treated hair (including coloured hair) will not be accepted.

All certified collectors follow the same systemized collection protocol; hair is cut as close to the scalp as possible from 4-5 different sites around the crown area to collect 100-150 mg (depending on the drug panel), it is then packaged and sealed in the presence of the donor and shipped to the lab via express shipping. Hair is shipped to a certified toxicology lab in the US and takes approximately 1-2 weeks to process.

Hair Strand Testing is available in a clinical setting.  Depending on what you’re testing for, several types of Hair Drug Panel tests are available as well as Childguard Drug Panels.  

To learn more on how Commodore Solutions can help you design and implement your drug and alcohol testing programs, please contact us. 

Cut off Level for Drug and Alcohol Testing

Drug and Alcohol Testing - Lab Procedures

What is a cut-off level?

A cut-off level in drug and alcohol testing is the level at which the concentration of a substance in a sample indicates a safety risk. So if a sample tests below the cut-off level, the test has a negative result.

If a sample is equal to or above the cut-off, the test result is positive unless otherwise noted by a Medical Review Officer.

Commodore Solutions can provide drug and alcohol testing that meets and exceeds industry requirements.  

We can help you develop a drug and alcohol testing program based on your individual business requirements. 

To learn more on how Commodore Solutions can help you design and implement your drug and alcohol testing programs, please contact us. 

Breath Alcohol Testing Procedure

Breath Alcohol Testing Procedures

Workplace Testing Solutions

Breath alcohol is the most commonly used practice for occupational alcohol testing. Breath alcohol meters measure the amount of alcohol present in the breath to accurately estimate blood alcohol concentration using an established ratio of how much alcohol the lungs absorb from the blood.


For non-DOT breath alcohol testing Canadian Model Version 6.0

The Canadian Model for Providing a Safe Workplace (the Canadian Model) is a Best Practice Alcohol and Drug Policy that stakeholders in the Canadian construction, maintenance and oil and gas industries can adopt and follow. The purpose of the Canadian Model is to ensure a safe workplace for all workers by reducing the risks associated with the inappropriate use of alcohol and drugs. This sixth version, issued on July 1, 2018, is issued jointly by COAA and Energy Safety Canada.  Page 19 for Alcohol Testing.

Article:  Canadian Model – Providing a Safe Workplace – Best Practices for Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace


Direct Alcohol Biomarker Testing in Dried Blood Spots

blood testing for drugs and alcohol


Phosphatidylethanol (PEth) is a direct alcohol biomarker.  Peth in blood exists as a component of the red blood cell membrane and is an alcohol-specific biomarker, meaning that it is created only in the presence of ethanol.  Significant PEth levels can be detected up to approximately 2-4 weeks after alcohol ingestion.  The stability of PEth in dried blood spots makes it ideal for forensic testing and research purposes.  Our PEth assay uses state-of-the-art LC-MS/MS instrumentation.

Benefits of Using Dried Blood Spots

Detectable up to approximately 2-4 weeks

No Dry Time

1. Puncture

2. Collect

3. Ship

Dried blood spot collection is performed by the individual being tested (the donor) and must be observed by a staff member, after a short training session.  Specimen amount is 5 dried blood spots on the dried blood spot card when collecting from a finger or 5 milliliters of blood, if using standard venipuncture collection with anticoagulant.  Results are available 2-4 days after the sample is received in the laboratory.

Dried blood spot collection is quickly becoming the fastest, most convenient way to test for PEth.

Our services are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  For forensic use only.

Fingernail Testing

What do professionals who use fingernail testing for drugs and alcohol know that you don't?

Some of the most frequently asked questions are related to the types of tests and what they are used for.  

Fingernail, made of keratin like hair, is emerging as a popular specimen type for drug and alcohol testing.  It is simple to collect, easy to ship and store, and is at the cutting edge of drug and alcohol testing.  

Drug and alcohol biomarkers are trapped in the fingernail by three main routes:

1) Blood flow in the germinal matrix deposits drug and alcohol biomarkers into the nail when it is formed.

2) Blood flow in the nail bed deposits drug and alcohol biomarkers in the nail as it thickens.

3) Sweat and oil of the skin surrounding the nail deposits drug and alcohol biomarkers into the nail.

These three very different routes of incorporation are superimposed on top of each other rendering a very complex drug history picture.

1:1 Nail and hair samples capture the same drugs

Non-intrusive, donor collected sample. Fingernails are collected by the donor in front of a trained staff member.

Minimal impact on the donors appearance.

All samples are screened on state -of-the-art instruments, and positives are confirmed on GC/LC MS before reported out.

Window of Detection & Collection

Nails provide up to 6 months of drug use history and up to 3 months of alcohol history. Biomarkers are detectable in nail as early as one week after drug or alcohol use.  The window of detection for drug or alcohol ingestion depends on the substance used, the amount used, and personal metabolism.  Just like hair and urine, a negative result is not proof of abstinence, just the lack of evidence. 

A 2-3 mm clipping, about the thickness of a quarter, from the end of each fingernail provides the optimal sample. Not enough fingernail?  Wait 1-2 weeks.  What is positive today will still be positive in 2 weeks.  Never mix fingernails and toenails in the same sample. 

How nails grow is important for biomarker testing

The nail originates in the germinal matrix and grows outward toward the fingertip.  The hardened material forming the nail plate grows across the nail bed, which is rich in capillary blood flow.  As the nail grows in length, material is added from underneath such that the nail lengthens and thickens, as it grows outward towards the fingertip.  The portion of the nail extending past the fingertip is called the free edge, the piece that you clip when clipping your nails.  The entire process takes up to 6 months depending on the health of the individual.  

Drug and alcohol biomarkers are trapped in the keratin fibers of the fingernail

Hair is also made of keratin fibers, but biomarkers may be washed out of hair by common cosmetic treatments such as bleaches, dyes, permanents and straighteners, reducing or eliminating the presence of the detectable substances.  This problem does not exist when testing nails. 

Nail keratin is 4x thicker than hair

Nail often captures more of a biomarker than hair.  

As nail grows in thickness and length, biomarkers build up in the nail at the germinal matrix and along the nail bed, collecting the full history of drug use.  

Our services are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  For forensic use only.

Frequently Asked Questions

swab testing for drugs and alcohol


Some of the most frequently asked questions are related to the types of tests and what they are used for.  

1. Urine Drug Testing

Urine drug testing is most commonly performed for occupational purposes (i.e. pre-employment or pre-access) but can be used for personal testing reasons.  The two types of urine testing are POCT/express or lab-based testing.  POCT/express testing is performed in the collection facility and will yield either a negative or non-negative result (non-negative results are sent to lab for confirmation testing); negative results will be provided same day.  Lab testing is performed at a certified laboratory and the timeframe for results is typically 2-5 business days.  We have multiple drug panels (7 panel – 14 panel drug tests) to meet your needs.

2. Oral Swab Drug Testing

Oral swab drug testing is becoming more common in occupational testing for determining whether a person as used a substance recently and could potentially be impaired.  The two types of oral swab testing are POCT/express or lab-based testing.  POCT/express testing is performed in a collection facility and will yield either a negative or non-negative result (non-negative results are sent to the lab for confirmation testing); negative results will be provided same day.  Lab testing is performed at a certified laboratory and the timeframe for results is 2-5 business days.

3. Dot Testing

There are some donors who cross the border to work in the United States (i.e. truck drivers) and require testing that complies with the US DOT regulations.  The preferred government issued photo ID (especially for drivers) is a valid driver’s license.  US DOT Rule 49 CFR Part 40 Section 40.81 mandates lab-based testing which is performed at a certified laboratory and timeframe for results is 2-5 business days.  Breath alcohol testing may also be required so a donor would want to avoid consuming alcohol for 24 hours prior to the test. 

4. Hair/Nail Drug Testing

There are situations when more historical data is required to determine substance use/abuse.  Generally court ordered in familial disputes where children are involved, but can occasionally be requested for personal or occupational purposes.  Hair needs to be 1.5 inches in length and free from all chemical treatments (including colour) and nails should be natural (free from any coatings) and be at least the width of a quarter.  Specimens are collected in our facility and shipped to a certified laboratory and results take anywhere from 1-2 weeks. 

Our services are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  For forensic use only.

Alcohol Biomarkers

hair and nail testing for drugs and alcohol

Learn which alcohol test best suits your requirements with our quick reference guide. Direct alcohol biomarkers testing for best results.

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