Business is full of risk, but a Sunderland-based firm is helping companies develop a safety-first approach by tackling alcohol and substance misuse.

Trevor Hall and Gordon Angus are making workplaces safer places. Their firm, Hall & Angus, is at the forefront of helping firms tackle employee substance and alcohol misuse.

Using years of experience, they educate and guide clients through the complicated framework of substance and alcohol misuse and help firms and organisations create and maintain safer environments.

Gordon said: “Over the 10 years that we’ve known each other, we realised there was a significant gap in the market that needed to be addressed – and we have worked incredibly hard to do just that.”

The pair discovered a lack of high quality training and testing services available in the North East, making it difficult and costly for companies to test, manage and monitor substance abuse.

Trevor said: “There are serious flaws in the current system of testing substance and alcohol misuse. For one, companies are very often in possession of legally indefensible policies, and this is something we help firms address by writing and providing legally defensible policies and testing programmes.

“Very rarely is there formal training in the workplace, which leaves both employer and employee vulnerable. We implement training across each of our CPD-accredited courses to remedy this risk.

As well as formal training, Hall & Angus also provide regular testing for firms.

Gordon added: “We have developed an Employee Assistance Programme. A critical part of the programme is regular testing over a period of time allied to clinical interventions.”

The firm uses a combination of hair analysis, nail clippings, saliva, urine and breath alcohol testing to decipher the existence of alcohol and substance misuse.

Trevor said: “On average our samples are turned around in just 48 hours – it is incredibility cost and time efficient, and hugely beneficial to clients.

“In the future, we want to develop a lab in the region, which will enable efficient testing, quick turn around of specimen analysis, and the protection of businesses and employees throughout the region. TOX 247 will be a lab in the North East of England that provides same-day sample analysis.”

Hall & Angus also provides expertise in the provision of policies, training and testing to address substance and alcohol misuse.

Gordon said: “Our mission statement is helping you, help your company, help your colleagues. That’s the heart of what we do – we are working to protect local businesses and their people.

“We want clients to become employers of choice, with clean and drug free establishments, creating safer environments. We feel testing, training, and raising awareness best achieves that.

“Whatever is in society is in the workplace – 75% of substance misusers are in the workplace, and 44% sell to colleagues. We need to identify these problems and offer a solution.”

Sunderland City Council has partnered with Hall & Angus, supporting its work to enhance education in schools. It also provided support to help the firm establish itself at Evolve Business Centre at Rainton Bridge.

Gordon said: “The council have enabled our work within the education sector. We provide interactive learning and encourage students to build their own lessons, which we have found to be especially productive.

“There is a real shortfall in education – in society, in schools and in the workplace. There needs to be a change, and we are working hard to facilitate this change.”

To promote further awareness and training, Hall and Angus are also planning to produce a web-based service for the education sector.

Trevor Hall explained: “We want to develop a web service where all the necessary information can be easily accessed. Importantly, we want to provide information that is current and factual.”

Sunderland City Council Deputy Leader, Harry Trueman, said: “The work of Hall & Angus is incredible and we are pleased to be able to support its progress. Gordon and Trevor’s work is helping to improve the quality of life for both employers and employees throughout the region.”