Pre Employment Drug and Alcohol Screening


A good drugs and alcohol policy should include a section on pre-employment drug and alcohol screening for anyone wishing to apply for a position within your company, reducing health and safety issues in the future. 

Employers are legally bound to ensure that their employees have a safe environment to enable them to carry out their duties. Ensuring the workplace is as safe as reasonably possible. Free from hazards that can put an employee at risk from injury or even death. 


The HSE has put in place guidelines for the employer to help protect all employees by carrying out pre-employment drug and alcohol screening to ascertain if a candidate has an issue with a substance before they are offered a role and become an employee.


The employer can arrange a recruitment day for anyone wishing to join the company and as part of the process it would be mandatory that they take and pass a drug and alcohol test before completing an application form.


It is important to consider the following points when drawing up and implementing your new drugs and alcohol policy before entering into a pre-employment screening programme:

  • A clearly written drugs and alcohol screening policy that sends a message to all job applicants, especially those applying for safety critical roles that they must take and pass the screening programme. It is essential that they are drug and alcohol free.

  • All applicants must give signed consent before screening is carried out. 

  • Make it clear in the policy that failing the drug and alcohol screening will terminate the application process.


  • Include a section that informs the applicant that they will be subject to random drug and alcohol screening throughout their employment before engaging into a contract. This must also be signed by the applicant to ensure they fully understand that it is mandatory to remain drug and alcohol free whilst an employee of the company. 

  • The policy should also contain information outlining the drug and alcohol procedure and applicants should be reminded prior to screening.

  • You may want to send out a offer of employment stating that it is conditional on completion of their screening being negative. 

  • The applicant must consent to providing a sample for the purpose of the pre-employment to establish they meet the criteria set out in the drug and alcohol policy. taken for drug and alcohol testing purposes.


  • The policy should state that the drug and alcohol screening programme is part of the employment process for anyone wanting to join the company and not just for a particular role within the organisation. Otherwise, there could be implications further down the line of discrimination.