Barnsley firm makes skies safer
3 May 2011
A Barnsley company is keeping the skies safer by testing airline pilots and cabin crew around the world to make sure they are not flying under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Screen4, which works with several international airlines, including Emirates, has now secured a contract to carry out drug and alcohol testing for the Australian national carrier Qantas. The company, which is being supported by business support programme Enterprising Barnsley, is also in talks with other major airlines.
The company manufactures and distributes kits that can test urine, oral fluid and breath samples for alcohol and drugs, including cocaine, ecstasy, cannabis and diazepam. It also carries out testing at any one of 200 locations across the world, ranging from Hanoi, Manila and Delhi to Sydney, Johannesburg and Los Angeles.
The samples, which are taken by specially trained agents, often former police officers, are either screened using Screen4’s kits or, if necessary, sent away to laboratories in the US, UK, India or Australia for expert analysis.
Screen4 also supplies testing kits and collection services to the maritime industry, including to Norfolk Line Shipping, to NHS drug and alcohol projects and to prisons.
Jon May, director of Screen4, which is based in Carlton, said: “Drug and alcohol misuse can be a real danger, especially if it involves people working in safety critical areas, where other people’s lives could be put at risk. So having a robust testing system in place is vital.
“We are aiming to be the provider of choice for airlines across the world. I don’t think there is another drug testing company with such an extensive network of collection agents. And we are adding to that list on an almost daily basis.”
For airlines the testing is mainly random to ensure that flight crew are safe to fly. But testing can also be used before offering employment, following an accident, or routinely, such as for intravenous drug users. And it can lead to real results.
“We provide a service that protects our customers their staff and the public, however, the main aim is not to catch people out, but to have a system in place that discourages risky behaviour in the first place,” said Jon.
Screen4 was set up by Jon, who used to work for a similar company, and two business partners. It started trading in September 2009 and has continued to grow during the economic downturn. The plan is to double their turnover this year and Jon is also looking at expanding into the rail and oil industries.
To help it grow Screen4 has gained ISO9001 certification, a globally-recognised accreditation for quality management.
“Enterprising Barnsley helped us get the ISO accreditation and that should open even more doors for us as it provides prospective customers with further confidence in our services and is recognised around the world,” said Jon.
Enterprising Barnsley is a business support programme which helps businesses with high growth potential. The programme has attracted £2.89m investment from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme. As well as offering business coaching, Enterprising Barnsley runs networking events and provides office space.
Martin Beasley, programme manager for Enterprising Barnsley, said: “It’s great to see businesses in Barnsley having an influence around the world and it’s great to feel that we can help fly the flag for the town in places as far away as Australia.”
NOTE TO EDITORS
Reporters and photographers are invited to try out one of Screen4’s oral testing kits. Please contact Screen4 to arrange.
Enterprising Barnsley is a partnership between Barnsley Development Agency, Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre and the University of Huddersfield’s Barnsley Campus. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to provide an integrated programme of business support.