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Choosing an Evidential Breath Alcohol Instrument for Regulated Workplace Testing
This Decision Tree infographic will help when choosing an Evidential Breath Alcohol Instrument for Regulated Workplace testing.
Here are some additional technology considerations, which make for the most accurate, reliable and defensible Evidential Breath Alcohol Instruments available:
1. Fuel Cell Sensor: (also called electro-chemical oxidation sensor). Fuel cell sensors have considerable advantages over IR and other inferior sensors:
- Greater accuracy and precision – every instrument on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Conforming Products List of Evidential Breath Testing Instruments uses a fuel cell sensor
- Capable of measuring very small volumes of breath
- Responds only to alcohol which rules out false positives from acetone and other substances that may appear on a person’s breath
- Can be easily calibrated using an alcohol gas standard
2: Automatic breath sampling: Automatic breath sampling means that the instrument automatically captures and measures alcohol in a small portion of the breath without the need to press a button.
Automatic breath sampling has the following advantages:
- Greater precision – removes variability caused by differences in how subjects blow
- Reduces operator error – the operator only needs to hold the instrument and instruct the subject when to blow
3: Accuracy checks and calibration capabilities: This allows the operator to verify the accuracy of the instrument which enables the operator to know with confidence that the instrument is giving accurate results, alerting the operator when the instrument is not giving accurate results. Having the capability for the operator to re-calibrate the instrument when it no longer reads accurately allows the operator to quickly put the device back into accuracy range and into service.
Performing an accuracy check and re-calibration when necessary has these advantages:
- Greater confidence in test results – the operator can check the accuracy of the instrument immediately after a positive result to validate the test result
- Less out-of-service time – accuracy checks and calibration adjustments take only a few minutes, so the instrument is never out of service very long
- Defend-able test results – the question “How do you know your instrument is reading accurately?” is one of the first questions asked when a positive test result is disputed. Documenting the accuracy check performed immediately prior to or after the test answers that question.