Occupational Health Testing

Occupational Health Testing Kits

Occupational health screening and tests

Valuemed is a medical supply company that plays a crucial role in supporting occupational health initiatives by providing essential medical equipment and testing kits. The company recognises the importance of maintaining a healthy workforce and aims to contribute to the well-being of employees through the provision of reliable and high-quality medical supplies.

Occupational health testing involves a variety of assessments to ensure that employees are physically and mentally fit for their specific job roles and to identify any potential health risks associated with the workplace. The specific tests conducted can vary depending on the nature of the job, industry regulations, and company policies.

Here are some common types of occupational health tests:

  1. Pre-Employment Health Screening: This might include a general health assessment, including medical history and physical examination including blood pressure. Vision and hearing tests may be performed if its relevant to the role. Drug and alcohol testing is also increasingly being performed in pre-employment and recruitment.
  2. Respiratory Function Tests: Spirometry to assess lung function and detect respiratory issues. Fit testing for respiratory protective equipment.
  3. Blood tests: Screening blood tests may be offered in some occupational health departments including full blood count (FBC) to assess overall health, liver function tests, kidney function tests, blood glucose levels, cholesterol tests.
  4. Drug and Alcohol Testing: Urine or saliva drug tests to detect the presence of drugs and alcohol.
  5. Urine tests: A range of general health conditions can be screened for with urine tests. See below for more information.
  6. Musculoskeletal assessment: Range of motion tests and strength and flexibility assessments.
  7. Immunisations and vaccinations: Ensuring employees are up-to-date on required vaccinations, especially in healthcare and high-risk environments.
  8. Vision and hearing tests: Assessments to ensure adequate vision and hearing for the job requirements.
  9. Psychological and Mental Health Assessments: Stress and mental health assessments. Psychological evaluations for specific roles.
  10. Fitness for duty evaluations: Assessments to determine if an employee is physically and mentally fit for a particular task or job.
  11. Exposure monitoring: Monitoring exposure to hazardous substances, such as chemicals or noise.
  12. Health Risk Assessments: Identifying potential health risks related to the job or work environment.

Occupational health urine testing

Occupational health urine tests are commonly used to assess various aspects of an individual's health and well-being, especially as they relate to the demands and risks of the workplace. The specific urine tests conducted may vary depending on the industry, job requirements, and regulatory standards.

Here are some common types of urine tests performed in occupational health settings:

  1. Drug Testing: Urine Drug Screen (UDS): This urine test is conducted to detect the presence of drugs or their metabolites in the urine. Urine drug testing is often used for pre-employment screening, random testing, and post-accident investigations. Common substances tested for include cannabis (marijuana THC), cocaine, amphetamines, opioids, and benzodiazepines.
  2. Alcohol Testing: Ethanol Urine Test: This test may be used to detect recent alcohol consumption. It tests for a substance called ETG in the urine which indicates that alcohol has been consumed within the last 72 hours. However, blood tests are more commonly used for assessing alcohol levels.
  3. Physical Health Assessment: Urinalysis: A general urinalysis can provide information about kidney function, hydration levels, and the presence of certain medical conditions. It may include an examination of urine color, clarity, pH, protein, glucose, ketones, and other elements.
  4. Exposure Monitoring: Toxicology Testing: In certain workplaces where exposure to hazardous substances is a concern, urine tests may be conducted to monitor levels of specific chemicals or toxins.
  5. Medical Surveillance: Biological Monitoring: This involves testing urine for substances that may indicate exposure to occupational hazards, such as heavy metals, solvents, or other toxic materials.

It's essential to note that any urine testing conducted in occupational health settings should adhere to legal and ethical standards, including respecting the privacy and consent of the individuals being tested. Employers often implement these tests to ensure a safe and healthy working environment and to comply with industry regulations. The specific tests performed can vary widely depending on the nature of the job, industry practices, and relevant legal requirements.

Occupational health drug screening 

Some occupational health screening in the UK may involve a drug test as part of the assessment. The most common drug tests used for occupational health in the UK are rapid drug test kits which usually screen a urine sample or an oral fluid saliva sample for drugs and or alcohol. If the drug test kit gives a positive result this would usually then be sent by the occupational health team or person, to a laboratory for a confirm drug test.

Which type of drug tests are most common in occupational health?

The most common type of drug test used in occupational health settings is the urine drug screen. This drug test is widely employed for various purposes, including pre-employment drug screening, random drug testing, post-accident investigations, and as part of ongoing employee health and safety programs to deter drug use. The urine drug screen is quick, effective, non-invasive, and relatively easy to administer. It can detect the presence of drugs or their metabolites in the urine.

Which drugs are tested for on an occupational health drug test?

The 5 substances typically tested for in a standard urine drug screen include:

  1. Cannabis (Marijuana) (THC): Detects the use of cannabis.
  2. Cocaine: Screens for the presence of cocaine or its metabolites.
  3. Amphetamines: Identifies the use of drugs like amphetamine and Ritalin
  4. Opioids: Screens for opiates such as morphine, codeine, and heroin.
  5. Benzodiazepines: Detects the use of medications like diazepam and alprazolam.

In addition employers may choose to test for other drugs including:

  1. Methadone: Screens for the presence of methadone, which is sometimes used in opioid addiction treatment.
  2. Propoxyphene: Detects the use of this opioid pain reliever.
  3. Methamphetamine Analogues (Ecstasy, MDMA): Some drug tests may include testing for synthetic drugs related to amphetamines.
  4. Tricyclic Antidepressants: Detects certain medications used to treat depression.
  5. Oxycodone: Screens for the presence of this opioid painkiller.
  6. Synthetic Cannabinoids: Some tests may include screening for synthetic marijuana compounds, often referred to as "spice" or "K2."
  7. Tramadol: Tramadol is an opioid pain medication. While it is not always included in standard drug tests, some employers or healthcare providers may choose to specifically test for it, especially if there are concerns about opioid use or abuse.
  8. Ketamine: Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that is used for medical and veterinary purposes. Ketamine abuse has increased significantly in recent years with the result that it is increasingly being included in routine workplace drug testing, particularly in certain industries or specific job roles where impairment from drug use could pose a safety risk, an employer may choose to include ketamine in a more extensive drug testing panel
  9. Fentanyl: In situations where there is a specific concern about opioid use, testing for fentanyl may be included.
  10. Barbiturates: Detects the use of sedative drugs like phenobarbital.
  11. Fentanyl: In situations where there is a specific concern about opioid use, testing for fentanyl may be included
  12. Phencyclidine (PCP): Detects the use of the hallucinogenic drug PCP
  13. Buprenorphine BUP : A medication commonly used in the treatment of opioid addiction. It is an opioid partial agonist, meaning it activates the opioid receptors in the brain but to a lesser extent than full agonists like heroin or methadone. While buprenorphine is used for therapeutic purposes in medication assisted treatment , it is not always included in standard workplace drug testing panels. However, in certain situations where there are concerns about opioid use or abuse, or in industries where the potential impairment from opioid medications could pose a safety risk, employers may choose to include buprenorphine in their drug testing protocols. If an employer is specifically interested in testing for buprenorphine, they should request a drug testing panel that includes this substance or work with a drug testing provider like UK Drug Testing to customise their workplace drug testing program accordingly.

It's important for employers to carefully consider the substances they want to screen for based on the nature of their industry, the potential risks associated with the job, and relevant legal and regulatory requirements. Employers should also communicate their drug testing policies clearly to employees and ensure that the drug testing is conducted in a manner that respects individual privacy and adheres to applicable laws and regulations.

It's important for employees to be aware of the substances included in their workplace drug testing panels, and employers should clearly communicate their drug testing policies to ensure transparency and compliance.

Choosing occupational health testing kits for workplace drug testing

Here is a general overview of the types of occupational health drug testing kits commonly available for workplace drug testing.

Types of Workplace Drug Testing Kits:

  1. Urine Drug Test Kits: These are one of the most common types of drug testing kits used for workplace drug testing. They typically test for a variety of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opioids, and others. Urine drug tests are convenient and non-invasive.
  2. Oral Fluid Drug Test Kits: Saliva or oral fluid drug testing kits are gaining in popularity. These tests are also non-invasive and are often used for on-site testing. They can detect recent drug use, and the collection process is simpler compared to urine testing, and can be done without the need for onsite toilets facilities.
  3. Hair Drug Test Kits: Hair testing provides a longer detection window, typically spanning several months. It's often used to detect habitual or long-term drug use. This method is less commonly used due to its longer detection period.
  4. Breath Alcohol Testing Kits: While not a drug test, breath alcohol testing kits are often included in workplace testing programs. They are used to measure blood alcohol content (BAC) and determine if an employee is under the influence of alcohol.
  5. Multi-Panel Test Kits: These kits are designed to test for multiple drugs simultaneously, providing a comprehensive drug screening solution for the workplace. The number of panels can vary, with common configurations including 5,7, 10, or more panels. 

Features of Occupational Health Drug Testing Kits:

  1. Accuracy and reliability: Look for drug testing kits that are known for their accuracy and reliability. Kits that comply with relevant industry standards and certifications are often preferred.
  2. Ease of use: User-friendly kits with clear instructions are essential for workplace drug testing. Consider kits that are easy to administer and provide quick results.
  3. Cutoff levels: Understanding the cutoff levels for each drug is important. Cutoff levels determine the concentration at which a drug is considered positive. Different kits may have different cutoff levels.
  4. Adulteration checks: Some multi drug test kits come with features like a temperature strip and an inbuilt adulteration test strip, to check for specimen adulteration, ensuring the integrity of the sample provided for testing.
  5. Compliance with regulations: Ensure that the selected testing kits comply with any relevant workplace drug testing regulations and standards in the UK.
  6. Customization Options: Depending on the needs of your workplace, look for kits that offer customization options, such as choosing specific drugs to test or selecting different testing methodologies.
  7. Customer support and training: Consider the availability of customer support and training resources. Adequate training ensures that testing is conducted correctly, and support can be crucial in case of any issues.

How often is an occupational drug test performed?

The frequency and circumstances under which occupational drug testing occurs can vary based on company policies, industry regulations, and legal requirements. Some employers may conduct pre-employment drug testing for all new hires, while others may implement random drug testing as part of their ongoing commitment to workplace safety.

How can Valuemed help you with your occupational health testing needs

Valuemed is a medical supply company that plays a crucial role in supporting occupational health initiatives by providing essential medical equipment and testing kits. The company recognises the importance of maintaining a healthy workforce and aims to contribute to the well-being of employees through the provision of reliable and high-quality medical supplies.

Product range:

Valuemed offers a comprehensive range of medical equipment and testing kits tailored to the specific needs of occupational health programs.

Valuemed product range may include:

  1. Drug testing kits: Valuemed supplies an extensive range of drug testing kits designed to identify the presence of various substances in urine and saliva samples. These tests are vital for ensuring a safe and drug-free workplace environment.
  2. Breath Alcohol Testing Kits: Valuemed provide breath alcohol testing kits that are easy to use and designed to accurately measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC) through a person's breath. These kits are particularly valuable for industries where operating machinery or vehicles is a part of the job.
  3. Urine Alcohol Testing Kits: Urine alcohol testing kits are also be available, detecting the presence of alcohol or its metabolites in urine samples of an extended period of time where zero tolerance is required. These tests can provide information about alcohol consumption over the previous 72 hours.
  4. Digital Breathalysers: Valuemed offer portable hand held breathalyser devices suitable for on-site testing. These devices are often compact and provide quick and accurate results, making them convenient for use in various workplace settings. 
  5. Professional-Grade Breathalysers: For businesses with more extensive alcohol testing needs, Valuemed can supply professional-grade breathalyser devices that offer advanced features and higher accuracy.
  6. Saliva Alcohol Testing Kits: Some workplaces prefer saliva-based alcohol testing. Valuemed supply kits that analyse alcohol levels through saliva samples, offering a non-invasive alternative to breath testing.
  7. Medical surveillance equipment: We offer tools for ongoing medical surveillance, including devices for measuring blood pressure, glucose levels, and other health parameters.

Quality assurance

Valuemed places a strong emphasis on quality assurance. All products provided for occupational health purposes undergo rigorous testing and adhere to relevant industry standards. This commitment to quality ensures the accuracy and reliability of the medical supplies, crucial for effective occupational health management.

Compliance and regulations:

Valuemed is dedicated to staying abreast of industry regulations and compliance standards and ensuring that its medical equipment and testing kits meet or exceed the required standards for occupational health.

Customised solutions:

Understanding the diverse needs of different industries, Valuemed may offer customised testing kits. This includes tailoring the combination of drug test kits to meet the specific requirements of individual companies and their unique occupational health challenges.

Educational Support:

Valuemed provide educational resources and training support to assist employers and healthcare professionals in effectively implementing and utilising the supplied medical equipment and testing kits.


In supporting occupational health initiatives, Valuemed serves as a reliable partner for companies seeking high-quality medical supplies. By offering a diverse range of equipment and testing kits, the company contributes to the creation and maintenance of safe, healthy, and productive work environments.

Occupational Health Testing Information page last reviewed and updated 15/1/24 by Dr Kate Garside

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