What’s the most surprising part of learning to administer drug and alcohol tests in the workplace?
As you might expect, the technical part of the testing takes a lot of training and expertise. But it’s the personal side – the tester’s bedside manner, so to speak – that is often unexpected by many trainees.
“The job is not hard,” says Rich Bosman, who spent 25 years in the Washington State Patrol before founding Bostec Inc. “But to do it in a non-threatening manner, to put people at ease, is something I spend a lot of time on,” he says.
During his career with the Washington State Patrol, Bosman spent many hours conducting tests in the field and testifying in court to the reliability of the testing equipment and the accuracy of the tests themselves. He knows how important it is to get everything just right.
During his last eight years at the State Patrol, in addition to testifying in court, he was in charge of maintaining all of the WSP’s breath alcohol testing equipment in Northwest Washington.
Today, Rich travels the Northwest providing training classes in recognizing the effects of drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace and in the use of breath alcohol testing equipment. He presents the classes with a personable yet firm approach — exactly how he expects testers to behave, he says.
“When you’re conducting a test, you have to put people at ease,” Bosman says. “But you also have to be firm. I really spend a lot of time teaching that.”
“And of course,” he adds, “you also have to do it right. To be a good breath alcohol tester, you have to have good people skills and be detail oriented.”
Bosman has plenty of both. In fact, he was so good at his job that several companies tried to hire him away to help run their own testing and training programs. He was working with four or five different companies’ products at the time, and he was well acquainted with just about every device on the market.
Though drug testing on the job has been around for a long time, breath-testing for alcohol in the workplace is a fairly recent phenomenon.
Soon after the Department of Transportation started requiring workplace alcohol testing in 1994 for companies it regulates, other industries caught on and started asking for training of their own. So Bosman trains workplace supervisors throughout the region on how to recognize the signs of drug and alcohol abuse.
Bostec also provides training to companies who buy breath-testing equipment for use in the workplace. Before they can start using the devices, companies are required to be certified in their use. One of the top manufacturers in the business, Intoximeters, asked Bosman to conduct on-site training in the use of the devices so that companies didn’t have to ship their people across the country. He travels throughout the Northwest for the trainings.
Bosman loves every day at work, and he enjoys being able to make a difference in the world long after retiring from police work. It’s something he enjoys greatly, and it’s a perfect fit for him, he says.
“We’re a small company that deals with a specific segment of the market,” he says. “And I’m OK with that.”
For information on getting your workplace up to speed on breath alcohol testing, contact Bostec today.