Choose the Right Method for Construction Industry Drug Testing
In the demanding world of construction, ensuring a safe and drug-free workplace is of utmost importance. The construction industry, particularly in Victoria, Australia, has recently implemented stricter guidelines regarding drug and alcohol testing.
With the enforcement of random drug tests on state government building sites, it’s essential for construction companies to understand and comply with these regulations to maintain safety and efficiency. Let’s delve into the details of construction industry drug testing and help you choose the right method for your company’s needs.
Construction Industry Drug Testing Policy and Guidelines
To keep up with the changing landscape, construction companies must be well-versed in the intricacies of construction industry drug testing policies. Industrial Relations Minister Robert Clark released new guidelines requiring companies tendering for taxpayer-funded projects over $10 million to conduct a minimum number of drug and alcohol tests on employees.
This initiative aims to increase safety, curb drug use, and prevent organised crime infiltration within the unionised workforce.
As an employer, you have the responsibility to choose the appropriate Australia Drug Testing method. You can opt for either an oral drug test (saliva test) or a urine test. Each method has its advantages, and understanding your objectives is key to making the right choice.
Oral Drug Test vs. Urine Test
Urine tests detect specific drugs for more extended periods, making them suitable for identifying recreational drug use. On the other hand, oral tests are geared towards assessing whether an individual is currently under the influence of drugs, making them ideal for ensuring employees are fit for work.
Consider your goals – are you testing for past activities or current impairment?
It’s important to adhere to Australian standards for both urine and saliva tests. While devices may be sourced globally, ensuring they comply with Australian standards guarantees their effectiveness.
Rules Around Testing
Saliva tests are gaining popularity due to their cost-effectiveness, but they come with an important condition. If a non-negative result is detected, it must be confirmed through a laboratory urine test.
In addition, the testing process, from the initial saliva test to the laboratory confirmation, must follow a strict chain of custody. This includes proper protocol for test administration, documentation, and secure transportation to prevent any tampering or compromise of results.
Having a Robust Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy
Drug testing is not a standalone solution but a part of a comprehensive approach to workplace safety. Hence, your company’s construction drug testing policy should go beyond a simple zero-tolerance stance. It should encompass education for both employees and employers, outlining responsibilities, testing processes, frequency, and expectations regarding behaviour within the organisation.
A well-crafted construction drug testing policy should be regularly reiterated, especially during times like the holiday season when employees are more likely to attend parties and celebrations. Remember, construction industry drug testing alone is not a “silver bullet.” A robust policy, coupled with education and communication, provides a more effective strategy.
Construction Industry Drug Testing Under the Building Code 2013
Since October 2015, the Building Code 2013 has included fitness-for-work amendments related to drug and alcohol testing for all building contractors.
The enforcement is a three-stage process, involving education, audits, and compliance rectification. Principal contractors must test for various substances, including alcohol, opiates, THC, cocaine, benzodiazepines, amphetamines, and methamphetamines.
Who Is to Be Tested?
Principal contractors need to outline procedures for personnel selection, including staged or random selection based on workforce size. The frequency of construction industry drug testing depends on the workforce:
- Less than 30 workers: At least 10% of the workforce
- 30 to 100 workers: A minimum of 5 workers per month
- More than 100 workers: A minimum of 10 workers per month
How Frequently Are Drugs and Alcohol Expected to Be Tested For?
The minimum frequency for random drug and alcohol testing is once per month. Additionally, principal contractors must define procedures for targeted testing, voluntary testing, and for-cause testing for higher-risk activities.
Navigating the landscape of construction industry drug testing requires a thorough understanding of the guidelines, testing methods, and compliance procedures. As you choose the right method for drug testing in construction company, consider the specific needs and objectives of your workplace.
From implementing a robust construction drug testing policy to adhering to the Building Code 2013 requirements, staying informed and proactive will not only ensure compliance but also contribute to a safer and more productive construction environment.
Remember, choosing the right method is not just about following regulations. It’s about prioritising the well-being of your workforce and the success of your projects.