Chain of custody refers to the system of controls governing the collection, processing and storage of samples. These controls reduce the potential for samples to be accidently or maliciously tampered with and guarantee that results reported by the laboratory originate, beyond doubt, from a particular donor. In addition, chain of custody paperwork ensures accurate documentation of the process by detailing the collection, custody, transfer, storage and analysis of samples.

In regards to drug and alcohol testing, having a strict chain of custody procedure in place is essential. It maintains the protection of the sample donor who could face life-altering consequences should results be positive as well as protecting the organisation requiring the drug or alcohol test by ensuring legal viability should legal proceedings occur on the strength of the test outcome.

Randox Testing Services collects samples globally via a network of experienced collection clients fully trained and many security vetted to NPPV3 level. With a strict chain of custody procedure in place, we guarantee integrity and traceability of samples from the time of sample collection and transition, to storage and analysis in the lab.

Our Chain of Custody Procedure

    1. Secure private collection station and maintain security by only permitting access to the sample collector and sample donor
    2. Confirm photographic ID of sample donor to ensure the sample is obtained from the person intended
    3. Complete chain of custody form
    4. Sample donor signs, dates collection device and gives consent before the sample is taken
    5. Unique barcodes are placed on sample containers as well as the chain of custody form to link the specimen to the correct paperwork; this ensures traceability and enables final results to be linked to the correct sample donor
    6. The sample collector inspects the testing area to ensure that no unauthorised substances are present. In the case of urine sample collection this includes soaps, disinfectants, cleaning agents or other possible adulterants. In addition water sources are made unavailable to urine sample donors
    7. The sample collector carefully monitors the sample donor throughout the collection process. In the case of a urine sample, the sample donor is asked to empty their pockets, remove outer garments, and leave personal belongings before entering the private sampling facility. The sample is temperature checked by the sample collector to ensure a fresh sample has been given
    8. The collection officer maintains control of the specimen and specimen collection form at all times during the collection
    9. The sample collector places a seal on the sample container to ensure it is tamper-proof
    10. The sample collector completes relevant paperwork and information on tamper-proof evidence bag
    11. The sample donor signs and initials tamper-proof evidence bag
    12. The collection officer places the sample inside the tamper-proof evidence bag and seals it. In the case of a hair sample the collection officers places the sample in collection foil first
    13. The sample is securely packaged and transported to the laboratory by secure sample carrier
    14. Upon arrival to the laboratory, laboratory staff check and confirm that all samples are intact with no evidence of tampering and that the chain of custody procedure has been carried out correctly
    15. The sample bottle and relevant paperwork are scanned to track the sample to the correct donor during analysis; patient confidentiality is maintained with the use of a unique identification reference number rather than the donors name
    16. Results are analysed and a medical review carried out if required
    17. Results are reported and all records retained for documentation of the process carried out and the procedures followed
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