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Category: Health

Drug Testing Through Bloodwork: How it Works

 

A blood test measures the amount of certain drugs in a person’s bloodstream at the moment the test is administered. It is one of the surest ways of confirming whether a person is or has been using drugs.

There are a number of circumstances where officials use drug testing through bloodwork, including as pre-employment drug testing, testing athletes for performance-enhancers, and testing following an on-the-job accident.

Drug testing through bloodwork is recognized as the most accurate way to determine whether someone is intoxicated. However, because it is costlier and more invasive than other drug tests, it is seldom used in an employment setting.

Other forms of drug testing by employers is relatively common in the United States, but in Canada, few employers have the legal grounds to test employees for drug use either before or during the course of employment.

How Drug Testing Through Bloodwork Works

To test for drugs, a medically-trained administrator draws a blood sample from the person to be tested using sterile equipment. Since this requires specialized tools and training, it should only be done by a professional (click here to find out if there is a service in your area.)

Once the sample is collected, it is sent to a certified laboratory to be subjected to an immunoassay test. This determines whether there are drugs or metabolites in the sample. If the test flags the presence of a drug, it is then screened using a gas-chromatography-mass-spectrometry (GC-MS) machine to confirm and measure the amount of the drug.

The two-step process of drug testing through bloodwork ensures accuracy and reduces the chance of false positives.

Depending on the purpose of the test, administrators may screen for a specific drug or a number of different drugs. Many employers use what is known as a five-panel test, which screens for amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine, PCP, and opiates. Others use a broader nine or ten-panel test that also looks for certain prescription drugs that are known to be used for recreational use.

How long a drug stays in a person’s system depends on a number of factors. Drugs with a longer half-life will be detectable for longer after use, and it can vary between individuals based on things like hydration and frequency of use.

The results of drug testing through bloodwork can take between a few days and a few hours, depending on the laboratory in which is processed.

 

Where to Get Part 1 of JHSC Certification in Ontario

Workplaces in Ontario with 20 or more regular employees at their work site are required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act to establish a joint health and safety committee or JHSC. The government defines a JHSC in its Guide for Health and Safety Committees and Representatives as such:

A joint health and safety committee (JHSC) is composed of worker and employer representatives. Together, they should be mutually committed to improving health and safety conditions in the workplace. Committees identify potential health and safety issues and bring them to the employer’s attention and must be kept informed of health and safety developments in the workplace by the employer. As well, a designated worker member of the committee inspects the workplace at least once a month.

A JHSC in Ontario must have at least one worker member and one supervisor member of the committee with JHSC certification. Part 1 of JHSC certification involves training on the fundamentals of health and safety in general.

What is Part 1 of JHSC Certification?

The first part of certification training consists of 19.5 hours of instruction over the course of three days. It may take place three days in a row or be spread out over several weeks. Different training providers offer different training schedules.

Part one training concerns fundamentals of health and safety that apply broadly to a variety of different kinds of workplaces. It is meant to educate the JHSC representatives on their role as members of the committee so they can carry out their duties responsibly.

Topics discussed in Part 1 include occupational health and safety law, the duties and responsibilities of management, supervisors, and workers, how to recognize health and safety hazards in the workplace, and how to assess, control, and evaluate hazards.

Members must complete Part 1 before they can move onto Part 2, which builds on that knowledge and focuses on specific hazards in the member’s own workplace. They must complete Part 2 within six months of Part 1. Certification remains valid even after members move from one workplace to the next.

Where to Get Certification Training

The Chief Prevention Officer of the Ontario Ministry of Labour sets out the criteria training providers must meet to deliver an approved JHSC certification program. To meet the requirements of the Ministry of Labour requirements and the Occupational Health and Safety Act, members must receive training from an approved provider.

Individual instructors do not need ministry approval. The providers are responsible for ensuring their instructors meet the ministry’s standards.

The Ministry provides a list of approved providers on its website.

 

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