March 7, 2023

International Benchmarking: A Global Perspective of Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing


Workplace drug and alcohol testing has been widely implemented in diverse industries and is designed to detect the use of and deter the influence of legal and illegal substances that would impair the ability to perform work that has significant security and safety implications. Across the globe, patterns of drug and alcohol use and abuse and the regulations controlling drug and alcohol use vary by location (e.g., regions, countries, etc.). The prevalence of workplace drug and alcohol testing and protection of individuals’ rights in the workplace similarly tend to exhibit contextual differences. With the advancements in drug-testing technologies and the recent issuance of guidance for additional testing matrices (e.g., oral fluid, hair, etc.) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, gaining a global perspective on the current state of drug and alcohol testing practices and regulations is important for leveraging such advancements to improve the effectiveness of drug and alcohol testing. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) tasked the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) fitness for duty (FFD) team to conduct a benchmarking analysis of international drug and alcohol testing regulations and programs to identify similarities and differences in workplace testing programs and the basis for any differences. The benchmarking study focuses on a policy analysis and benchmarking metrics comparison among different countries and regions. The policy analysis includes the following three types of relevant international and national policies relevant to drug and alcohol testing in the nuclear industry: 1. National drug and alcohol policy 2. Workplace drug and alcohol testing 3. FFD regulations for Nuclear Power Plants The international drug and alcohol benchmarking metrics focusses on the use of blood, breath, urine, hair, and oral fluid in testing; drug and drug metabolite cutoff values; point-of-collection testing devices; roadside testing methodologies; innovations in drug testing; and the extent of availability of such data. Gaining an understanding of workplace drug and alcohol testing in other countries as well as information about new testing methods, matrices, tools, and technologies that other countries have adopted provides NRC with international comparative information regarding the technical basis for such programs and methods as it relates to the protection of worker and public health and safety.

Published: March 7, 2023


Condon C.A., E.P. Kennedy, P. Mirick, D. Goodman, A.L. Bunn, and A.C. Dalton. 2023. International Benchmarking: A Global Perspective of Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

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