What is a Saliva Alcohol Test?
A saliva alcohol test refers to the collection of a saliva specimen from the mucous lining inside the mouth to determine the relative blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels from the subject in question. In Canada, provincial and territorial jurisdictions recognize the prescribed limit for BAC grade within the 0.05-0.08 percent range to qualify as a perceived health risk in meeting job performance standards.
Statistical reports indicate that alcohol consumption is a leading cause for many vehicular accidents in Canada, prompting industrialized sectors to level the incidence rate by highlighting a zero BAC value for workers occupying safety-sensitive positions. With alcohol being a commonly ingested drug of choice, a saliva alcohol test serves as a non-invasive procedure to assess individuals who display repeated patterns that suggest ongoing alcohol use. Hence, employers can identify telltale signs of alcohol dependency that often translate to inefficient work practices, which can include cognitive impairment, motor coordination difficulties, and lethargy.
The application of saliva alcohol tests carries legal implications for employers in which observing human privacy rights in the face of potential liability suits remains a systemic problem when maintaining a drug and alcohol-free environment. Given the fact that alcohol dependency is a legitimate disability, companies must provide reasonable accommodations that facilitate the employee’s capacity to execute their job role without imposing undue hardship on the employer. In some cases, laboratory clinics offer third-party referrals via a certified instructor to address reasonable suspicion events coupled with substance abuse resource programs for employees, pending confirmatory results from an evidentiary breath testing device.
The disparity between government mandates and the corporate landscape to introduce across-the-board drug and alcohol testing procedures reflects solidarity from employers and employees to make substance abuse issues a primary health concern. If individuals are struggling with alcohol dependency, employers can draw on medical history records as a legal device for interpreting appropriate measures taken to identify the problem such as previous accounts of saliva alcohol test(s).