It is essential to have a properly defined, robust procedure in place for drug testing, since the test result must be capable of withstanding the utmost scrutiny if challenged in a court of law or at an Employment Tribunal.
The procedure used by BP Associates is known as the Chain of Custody, which is often referred to as the C of C. It is designed to ensure that the integrity and security of a urine or oral fluid sample is preserved from the time it is produced by the donor until it is packaged and sent to the laboratory by the collector. It extends to the analytical process and to the reporting of the laboratory results and any medical review, and ultimately to the records of storage of the sample at the laboratory and its eventual destruction.
THE IMPORTANCE OF MAKING PROPER COLLECTIONS
The result of a drug test can have significant legal and personal implications for the donor. Therefore, it is essential that the collector follows strict procedures when collecting and packaging the urine or oral fluid sample to ensure that it has not been adulterated prior to reaching the laboratory, and that the Chain of Custody of the sample from donor to laboratory has been maintained.
Donors must fully understand the collection process so that they can provide their informed consent when they add signatures to security seals, bags and forms. Consequently, you must explain the process at the onset of collection. BP Associates will provide you with a ‘Donor Information Sheet’ for the donor to read beforehand. You should also invite questions before you start the collection. The donor must be allowed to observe all stages of the process by which the sample is divided and packaged in its security polybag ready for shipment to the laboratory.
As with breath alcohol sample collections, the area where the sample is to be collected must be carefully prepared in advance, in accordance with local circumstances. Also, it is essential that you take precautions to guard against possible adulteration of the sample by the donor.
BP Associates provide full details of guidelines to follow when collecting samples during their training programmes for either our own, or our clients collection technicians.
THE IMPORTANCE OF COLLECTION TECHNICIAN
The Collection Technician is the key to the success of any drug testing programme. You are the person with whom all donors will have direct, face to face contact. Unless you ensure the integrity of the sample and the collection process, the result from the laboratory analysis could not be relied upon. There would be no point in the laboratory analysing the sample. Furthermore, without your sensitivity to an individual’s privacy, the entire testing programme would be subject to criticism. Consequently, it is imperative that you fully understand and follow the procedures.