Drug and Alcohol Testing in Ramadan

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    • #373
      Sarwar Chowdhury

      Below is a question from Sam Phillips, Head of Health and Wellbeing Transport for London (TfL) regarding testing during Ramadan:

      I am wondering what others do if an employee is unable to produce a sample and cannot take on any liquid as they are fasting.
      Do you:

      • Do nothing
      • Use alternative testing eg saliva test/hair test
      • Test after Ramadan……

    • #374
      Sarwar Chowdhury

      Sam – I posed this question to my network of OHPs across the UK and I got quite a few responses and have added my own below.

      As a muslim myself who fasts during Ramadan, my personal view which was echoed by my OH network is that it depends if it is for cause or routine testing.

      For cause may warrant either post sunset testing (can eat and drink thereafter) or other alternative methods suck as hair and saliva.
      There is unlikely to be a significant issue testing outside the hours of daylight as you would expect the body to the replenished and a sample of blood or urine given.
      This would not break the fast from a religious standpoint either.

      For routine testing, I suppose it depends on the drug and alcohol policy and where there is a means to delay until after Ramadan or not.
      However I would have thought the same could apply with the above if it is deemed necessary.
      I don’t think this would be discriminatory for the religion under EA2010 as you are making accommodations to avoid breaking/nullifying the fast and optimising the chance of a reasonable sample.
      A blood sample for CDT for example only needs a few mls and would not be an issue outside of the fasting hours.

      I cannot really see any false negatives or positives arising if testing was done outside of daylight hours based on my knowledge of physiology and MRO work I do.

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