Drug & Alcohol Testing:

Adapting to COVID-19 – An Interview with Training Consultant Samantha Francis

At SYNLAB Laboratory Services, we’re committed to working with employers to rule out, identify and deter inappropriate drug and alcohol use in the workplace. Our highly knowledgeable training team are equipped to provide training solutions to enhance your organisation’s awareness of drug and alcohol misuse in the workplace and to ensure that any testing is carried out accurately.

One of our Training Consultants, Samantha Francis, has over eight years’ experience delivering bespoke training solutions. We caught up with her to find out how her role has changed in the last 6 months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

How long have you worked for SYNLAB Laboratory Services?

I’ve worked for SYNLAB Laboratory Services for almost 9 years, I started in September 2011.

What does your job as a Training Consultant involve?

I travel across the UK and Ireland delivering on-site training to customers on a wide variety of drug and alcohol related subjects.

I also write policies for companies that do not have a policy in place, and I review current policies for businesses and update these in accordance with new legislation and testing processes.

How has your role changed as a result of COVID-19?  

We now run smaller group training sessions to ensure social distancing. I have also had to adapt to different country or local restrictions, as well as client specific restrictions. We now also offer online training in addition to face to face training for some clients and at locations where social distancing would be more difficult.

What new safety measures are in place? 

Safety measures have been put in place to ensure all delegates are safe whilst attending face to face training on-site. Delegates attending the training are now provided with a box which includes: 3 pairs of nitrile gloves, sealed mouth pieces to be used on the breathalyser, a drug test (if applicable) and face masks (optional for the delegate to wear as currently not mandatory in England at work).

The training rooms are marked out to ensure that delegates are 2 metres apart. A risk assessment is also carried out by the client and myself to determine the maximum number of delegates allowed in the training room. Delegates are required to sanitise their hands using alcohol hand gel on entering the class room, I also carry non-alcohol wipes to wipe down the equipment used, i.e. breathalysers and the tablet used for feedback. The training room, and all desks and chairs, are cleaned down using special wipes and all rubbish is either taken by each delegate in the box provided or is double-bagged at the end and tied up and the client will ensure safe removal of waste.

The delegates are no longer working in pairs/groups for testing to ensure social distancing and I limit the passing around of equipment. All delegates are briefed at the beginning of each session on the way the session will be planned and run, which has proven to be successful. I ensure I keep 2 metres apart from the delegates at the front of the classroom and if I needed to reduce this, for example if I was dealing with an unwell delegate, I would ensure a facemask is worn.

What is your favourite part of your job?

I enjoy working on multiple sites and in different industry’s including: warehousing and distribution, transport and logistics, occupational health, the NHS and many more. I meet a wide range of people from all different backgrounds and settings and enjoy hearing stories and life experiences from so many different people.

For more information, or to arrange training for your team, please contact our Customer Services team via an email to [email protected] or by calling 01873 856688.

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