Respirator fit testing

Internationally, the Approved Codes of Practice (ACOPs) supporting the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH), the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations (CAW) and the Control of Lead at Work Regulations (CLAW) require that wearers of tight fitting respirators are fit tested. Fit testing is a means of checking that a respirator facepiece matches a person’s facial features and seals adequately to their face.

Ergonomics Services

What is Ergonomics?

Ergonomics is the science of fitting jobs to workers instead of trying to get the worker to fit the job. It focuses on designing workstations, tools & work tasks for safety, efficiency and comfort. Ergonomics seeks to decrease fatigue and injuries, along with increasing comfort, productivity, job satisfaction and safety, because work injuries are not inevitable and a well-designed job should not hurt you.

Ergonomics is important because when you’re doing a job and your body is stressed by an awkward posture, extreme temperature, or repeated movement your musculoskeletal system is affected. Your body may begin to have symptoms such as fatigue, discomfort, and pain, which can be the first signs of a musculoskeletal disorder.

What are Musculoskeletal Disorders?

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are injuries or disorders of the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage, and spinal discs. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD) are conditions in which:

  1. The work environment and performance of work contribute significantly to the condition; and/or
  2. The condition is made worse or persists longer due to work conditions

Examples of work conditions that may lead to WMSD include routine lifting of heavy objects, daily exposure to whole body vibration, routine overhead work, work with the neck in chronic flexion position, or performing repetitive forceful tasks. There is positive evidence for relationships between work conditions and MSDs of the neck, shoulder, elbow, hand and wrist, and back.

Musculoskeletal disorders are associated with high costs to employers such as absenteeism, lost productivity, and increased health care, disability, and worker’s compensation costs. MSD cases are more severe than the average nonfatal injury or illness.

Our Ergonomics Services

  1. Ergonomic Risk Assessment: We have experts in Ergonomic Risk Assessment. We can help you quantify ergonomic risk factors at your worksite using objective, valid ergonomic assessment tools.
  2. Worksite Assessments: Our experts will conduct a worksite assessment to review job tasks with respect to the client’s functional needs. The assessment will identify workplace-specific accommodations to meet the client’s needs. Comprehensive reports with specific equipment and service accommodations are provided.
  3. Ergonomics Training: This is the most crucial component of the an efficient ergonomic process. Our experts can train your entire organisation on how to remain ergonomically safe.
  4. Ergonomics Program Management: We can help you define policies, standards, and guidance documents to drive a sustainable ergonomics process.

Workplace Drug Testing

Workplace drug testing is carried out to determine if employees or job applicants are using drugs. This is a necessary action because substance abuse is on the rise.

Substance abuse – which includes drugs and alcohol takes a heavy toll on businesses, costing billions of Shillings in lost productivity and increased medical bills spending each year.

Alcohol and drug abuse creates significant safety and health hazards and can result in decreased productivity and poor employee morale. It also can lead to additional costs in the form of health care claims, especially short-term disability claims. Drug abuse can also lead to financial loss especially when the employee is working under the influence of a drug as well as loss of life when operating machinery in industries or transport sector.

M Toxicology performs drug and alcohol testing to improve safety in the work environment. In many
situations, people who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol at work will put themselves and others at risk. Companies run these tests to deter people working on their sites from using drugs and alcohol at work plus maintenance of the company reputation.

Common reasons employers implement drug testing are to:

  • Deter employees from abusing alcohol and drugs
  • Prevent hiring individuals who use illegal drugs
  • Be able to identify early and appropriately refer employees who have drug and/or alcohol problems for rehabilitation.
  • Provide a safe workplace for employees
  • Protect the general public and instill consumer confidence that employees are working in a safe drug-free environment
  • Avoid hiring individuals who pose a safety risk
  • Help hang on to responsible employees who value safety
  • Demonstrate your social responsibility to the communities you work in
  • Be assured of competent employees
  • Maximize productivity (because employees that are not on drugs are at their best potential)
  • Ensure consistency in quality and standard of products

Problems associated with drug use and/or drug dependency

  • Increase in Injuries/accident rates
  • Premature death/fatal accidents
  • Theft
  • Absenteeism/extra sick leave
  • Loss of production
  • Tardiness/sleeping on the job
  • After-effects of substance use (hangover, withdrawal) affecting job performance
  • Poor decision making
  • Loss of efficiency
  • Lower morale of co-workers
  • Increased likelihood of conflicts with co-workers/supervisors
  • Illegal activities at work including selling illicit drugs to other employees
  • Higher employee turnover

When should workplace drug testing be done?

  • Periodic: this is scheduled and is typically performed on current employees at consistent time periods throughout the year (perhaps once or twice a year). In this case, all employees are collectively and indiscriminately tested for drugs of abuse.
  • Pre-employment: this is done before one takes up employment in a given workplace.
  • Random: this is done indiscriminately with a purpose of preventing employee workplace drug abuse. This may be done once or twice a year.
  • Reasonable suspicion: this is done on an individual that is suspected to abuse drugs following their odd behavior.
  • Post-accident/post-incident: This should be standard practice for most workplaces. This substantiates whether an accident was due to the influence of drugs or not. This also guides on the benefits that an employee claims.
  • Return-to-duty for previously suspended employees: This is carried out when a previously suspended employee (for drug abuse) is to return to duty.
  • “Follow-up” – applied only to previously suspended employees “if” re-hired: It is recommended that a minimum of 5 follow-up drug tests of the reinstated employee are required in the first 12 months following re-hire.

School Drug Testing

Teenagers might enter secondary school as children, but they will leave as young adults. This six-year period is transformational — full of growth, hardships and self-discovery. It’s also an experimental time — and for millions of teens, that means trying drugs and alcohol. Sadly, some teens doing drugs will suffer serious consequences as a result of substance use.

School drug testing is carried out to determine if students or applicants are using drugs. This is a necessary action because drug abuse is on the rise and our life in secondary school determines what we turn out to be in the future.

Drugs have no rightful place anywhere in society; however, they have even less of a place in academic environments where teens are living in their most formative years. The teen drug/alcohol user’s academic performance is severely impaired, along with his or her level of responsibility – such as skipping class, failing to complete assignments, etc.

Drug testing can identify teens who have started using drugs and would be good targets for early intervention, as well as identify those who already have drug problems, so they can be referred for treatment.

The primary purpose of drug testing is not to punish students who use drugs but to prevent drug abuse and to help students already using become drug-free. If a student tests positive for drugs, schools can respond to the individual situation. If a student tests positive for drug use but has not yet progressed to addiction, the school can require counselling and follow-up testing. For students diagnosed with addiction, parents and a school administrator can refer them to effective drug
treatment programs to begin the recovery process.

We at M Toxicology provide a full package which involves both testing and rehabilitation.

Why do teenagers use drugs? There are countless reasons. Many are reacting to peer pressure and believe turning to drugs and alcohol is how to become popular in secondary school.

Common reasons schools implement drug testing are to:

  • Build a productive and sound-minded generation
  • Deter students from abusing alcohol and drugs
  • Prevent admitting students who use illegal drugs
  • Be able to identify early and appropriately refer students who have drug and/or alcohol problems for rehabilitation
  • Provide a safe environment for students
  • Instill parent confidence that students are studying in a safe drug-free environment
  • Demonstrate your social responsibility to the communities around the school
  • Be assured of a safe environment

Problems associated with drug use and/or drug dependency in teens

  • Increase in aggression
  • Decreased Academic excellence
  • Premature death/fatal accidents
  • Theft
  • Risk of overdose
  • Sexual violence e,g, rape
  • Dropping out of School
  • Anti-social behavior
  • Unsafe sex
  • Homosexuality
  • Impairment of brain development
  • Absenteeism
  • Depression
  • Stunted growth
  • After-effects of substance use (e.g. hangover or withdrawal) affecting class and co-curricular performance
  • Poor decision making
  • Involvement in risky behavior like strikes & school burning
  • Increased likelihood of conflicts with classmates and teachers
  • Illegal activities at school including selling illicit drugs to other students

Repeated drug use can also lead to the disease of addiction. Studies show that the earlier a teen begins using drugs, the more likely he or she will develop a substance use disorder or addiction. Conversely, if teens stay away from drugs while in secondary school, they are less likely to develop a substance use disorder later in life.

When should schools conduct drug testing?

  • Periodic: this is scheduled and is typically performed on current students at consistent time periods throughout the year (perhaps once or twice a year).
  • Pre-admission: this is done before one is admitted to a particular school
  • Random: Performed unannounced using a random selection process to get a representation of the population.
  • Reasonable suspicion: this is done on a student that is suspected to abuse drugs following their odd behavior.
  • Post-accident/post-incident: This should be standard practice for most schools. This substantiates whether an accident/incident was due to the influence of drugs or not. This also guides on the actions to take.
  • Return-to-school for previously suspended students: This is carried out when a previously suspended student (for drug abuse) is to return to school.
  • “Follow-up” – applied only to previously suspended students “if” re-admitted: It is recommended that a minimum of 5 follow-up drug tests of the re-admitted students are performed in the first 12 months following re-admission.

How is School Drug Testing done?

All that M Toxicology needs to perform school drug testing is a urine sample.

Saliva drug testing

Saliva screening tests allow drug consumption to be identified anytime, anywhere.

The signs of drug use are less noticeable than those of alcohol consumption. Rapid saliva drug screening tests allow to publicly screen for drugs. Regular testing is also increasingly used for safety at work.

Advantages of Saliva drug testing

  • It can be performed anywhere
  • Test results are available within 3-8 minutes
  • Early detection window
    • Drug can be detected immediately after use
  • Faster turnaround
    • Saliva samples can be collected in any location
  • Strong correlation to impairment
    • Compounds that are present in a person’s blood are always present in their saliva
  • Greater integrity of results
    • Sampling is done in plain site
  • Eliminates adulteration
    • Tampering with sample is impossible
  • Better process for collection
    • Non-evasive and as accurate as blood

Roadside drug testing

This is particularly important for those in the transportation business, courier services, public transport and law enforcement. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol poses a major threat to road safety. Lamentably, a number of accidents resulting in casualties, fatalities and financial loss are often caused by the effects of Drugs and Alcohol. It is believed that a large number of cases go undetected because Uganda lacks on-site roadside drug screening techniques yet drug use is on the rise in our society.

M Toxicology ltd provides products for the detection of addictive and dangerous substances at the roadside using saliva. We are proud to play a part in contributing to personal, workplace and public safety. With our products, suspicions of drug abuse can be quickly and reliably confirmed at roadside checks. With our saliva drug testing kit, driving under influence of drugs or alcohol is prevented.

Drug detection training

We support our customers with tailored training in drug detection. We offer a wide range of services, from printed documents, and video presentations to comprehensive on-site user training. Our trainers can compile a customized drug detection training package just for you. 

Please feel free to contact us at any time if you have more detailed questions. You can as well arrange an appointment for a one-to-one meeting on-site.

Benzene Biological Monitoring

Recent exposure to benzene can be determined by biological monitoring (also known as biomonitoring). This is the measurement of benzene or its unique metabolites in biological fluids e.g. in urine. Biomonitoring reflects the total uptake of benzene by inhalation, ingestion or absorption through the skin. Other methods for measuring exposure, for example air sampling, will not indicate actual exposure levels within an individual.

Health Effects of Benzene

Benzene is a highly flammable liquid which occurs naturally in crude oil and natural gas. Once processed it is found in fuel e.g. bunker oil and chemical applications e.g. pre-cursor, solvents.

Acute effects

  • Acute occupational exposure to benzene may cause narcosis: headache, dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, tremors and loss of consciousness. Use of alcohol enhances the toxic effect.
  • Benzene is a moderate eye irritant and a skin irritant.

Effects following chronic exposure

  • Benzene is a well-established cause of cancer in humans. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified benzene as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1). Benzene causes acute myeloid leukaemia (acute non-lymphocytic leukaemia), and there is evidence that benzene may also cause acute and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple mye-loma.
  • Chronic exposure to benzene can reduce the production of both red and white blood cells from bone marrow in humans, resulting in aplastic anaemia.
  • Both B-cell proliferation and T-cell proliferation are reduced by benzene. Decreased host resistance to infection has been reported in several laboratory animals exposed to benzene.
  • Chromosomal aberrations in human peripheral lymphocytes are associated with occupational exposure to benzene. Chromosomal aberrations, micro nuclei, sister chromatid exchange and sperm head abnormalities have been seen in laboratory species treated in vivo. Chromosomal aberrations and mutations were seen in human cells in vitro and in laboratory animal cells in some in vitro studies.
  • Benzene is fetotoxic in mice and rabbits following maternal exposure by inhalation, causing a reduction in birth weight.

Exposure risks

Due to the highly toxic nature of benzene, repeated exposure has been linked with the onset of blood
disorders such as leukaemia.

Employees in a number of major industries may be exposed to benzene, either in routine work situations or following its accidental release into the atmosphere.

Industries where benzene exposure is a potential hazard include:

  • Oil, gas and chemical – production and transportation
  • Coke and coal production
  • Petroleum storage and distribution
  • Oil refineries,
  • Chemical plants
  • Petroleum processing industries
  • Gasoline station employees
  • Steel industry
  • Coke and smelting
  • Transport
  • Fire fighters and emergency response organisations
  • Rubber industry
  • Printing industry
  • Pesticide production
  • Detergent production
  • Solvent production
  • Paint and varnish production
  • Shoe manufacture
  • Waste management, and
  • Laboratory technicians

Urinary S-Phenyl Mercapturic Acid (S-PMA) testing

S-PMA is a metabolite of benzene and a positive result indicates exposure to benzene offering an highly sensitive and specific testing method to monitor total exposure to benzene. This state of-the art analysis method can test for benzene exposure using a small amount of urine and generates
important information on exposure, significantly adding value to conventional air-borne analyses as S-PMA indicates total benzene exposure from all sources, either through vapour inhalation, ingestion or absorption through the skin. It readily identifies benzene exposures at levels considerably lower
than previous regulatory guidelines, even for workers who are heavy smokers.

Benefits of S-PMA testing

Implementation of systematic Benzene Exposure Biomonitoring by S-PMA analysis has resulted in a number of benefits for petrochemical industries. These include:

  • Measurement of total exposure: Tests measure exposure via inhalation, ingestion and skin absorption. The latter is unaccounted for in air borne monitoring, therefore underestimating total uptake.
  • Evaluation of site safety practices: Confirmation of the efficacy of personal protective equipment and whether breathing apparatus, protective suits and gloves are functioning or are being used correctly.
  • Provision of safety assurance for employees: Provides reassurance of safety to operatives performing potentially hazardous tasks, such as spill clean-up, by the timely reporting of benzene bio-monitoring results.
  • Simple non-invasive urine sample collection provides minimal disruption to workflow.
  • State-of-the-art technology: Provides results at or below current health standards, offers rapid result turnaround for employee confidence.
  • Establishes good working practices: Confirms that a company is deploying ‘Best Health & Safety Working Practice’ and is supporting improvements in working practices.
  • Enables data tracking: Provides data on work processes and identification of exposure trends.

International recognition of S-PMA as a benzene-specific biomarker

The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) and the Deutsche Forschungsge-meinschaft (DFG) in Germany have published biological exposure indices for S-PMA as a marker of benzene exposure. The Health and Safety Laboratories (HSL) in the UK recognize and advocate using S-PMA as a biomarker of occupational exposure to benzene.

Recommended sampling program

  • Routine sample: To ensure peak levels of S-PMA are not missed for routine testing, the recommendation is to collect urine samples to test for benzene exposure after the end of the shift.
  • Post Incident sample: Following any exposure incident, a sample should be collected one hour post exposure and should be followed up, if possible, with further samples after 9-12 hours and 24 hours. These three samples will enable S-PMA concentrations to be charted and will assist in the interpretation of results.

Alcohol Testing

M Toxicology offers a number of alcohol testing products ranging from legally defensible calibrated breathalyzers to more cost-effective disposable tests.

Alcohol is absorbed into the blood stream within a few minutes of consumption. It has an initial stimulant effect, acts as a depressant, dehydrates the body tissues and even at levels below the legal drink and drive limits will affect co-ordination, reaction times, thinking, judgement and mood.

The easiest way of detecting levels of Alcohol in a person is by taking a breath sample. This is a straight forward process which is not intrusive. It is recommended that breath alcohol testing is performed daily as employees are reporting on duty.