How To Conduct Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing
The use of illicit drugs is a growing concern for employers in Australia. A recent survey found troubling statistics – 1 in 8 employees had used an illicit drug in the last 12 months. Additionally, 1 in 20 admitted to using one while at work. With risks like decreased productivity, absenteeism, and workplace accidents, it is understandable that more and more employers are turning to drug and alcohol testing.
But what is the best way to go about it? In this blog post, we will walk you through everything you need to know about workplace drug and alcohol testing in Australia.
What Drugs Are Tested For?
The most common drugs tested for include cannabis, amphetamines, cocaine, opiates and benzodiazepines. Amphetamines such as methamphetamines fall under that category. Opiates including heroin are also commonly screened for. Benzodiazepines such as Valium are another drug family frequently tested.
However, a wide range of other drugs can be tested for, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and designer drugs.
Employers might utilize drug and alcohol testing in the workplace as a management tool for workplace health and safety hazards. These examinations could be random, optional, ‘for cause’ examinations, or another type.
Therefore, it’s crucial to be aware of the Australian guidelines for drug and alcohol testing before undertaking any tests. When testing employees, employers should be cognizant of their rights and restrictions.
Additionally, they need to understand the various testing alternatives available to them. In summary, being knowledgeable about regulations and methods is key for employers looking to implement effective drug and alcohol screening programs.
Why Perform A Pre-Employment Drug Test On Applicants?
Testing for drugs and alcohol at work is now commonplace. Although workplace drug and alcohol policies are not required in all sectors within Australia, more companies are taking proactive measures to safeguard their workers and their operations by implementing drug and alcohol testing.
There is no way of knowing if a candidate who excels in job interviews and has a strong resume uses drugs. A pre-employment drug screen can detect drug usage.
Impacts of Drug Use
Don’t get it wrong if you do hire a drug user,an employee who uses drugs adversely affects the workplace, puts you and your staff at risk, and disadvantages your company.
Additionally, employees who use drugs often struggle with complex work and have trouble focusing and remembering.
A drug user’s high-risk behaviour raises the risk that they may steal from the business or your other employees in order to support their habit.
The likelihood of an employee taking drugs being involved in an accident makes them potentially the most dangerous, especially when other people’s lives are at stake. In reality, non-users make up the majority of victims in drug-related workplace accidents.
Effects on Workplace Culture
An employee’s irritable behaviour while under the influence of alcohol or drugs will be detrimental to both your customers and team. We frequently observe more personnel turnover as a logical result. Usually, the top workers are the first to quit.
Should You Perform Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing?
Any organisation or business that takes workplace health and safety seriously should conduct drug and alcohol tests. However, conducting workplace drug and alcohol testing will be most advantageous for sectors with higher working dangers, such as mining, aviation, construction, manufacturing, logistics, and transportation.
It is because there is zero tolerance for using or abusing drugs or alcohol while working in those safety-critical areas. Employees who are high on drugs or drunk from alcohol present serious safety risks, especially in the aforementioned industries.
For instance, in order to prevent any roadside accidents, drivers from the logistics or transportation sectors would need to be completely sober. Workers in other industries must also maintain their sobriety when working large machines.
By detecting and controlling their employees through drug and alcohol tests before any accidents occur, employers will be able to reduce these risks. As a result, they promote health and safety measures and give their employees a safe and healthy workplace.
Types of Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing in Australia
Urinalysis and oral fluid (saliva) tests are currently the most frequently performed drug testing in Australia. There are Australian criteria for both of these examinations. These specifications describe the methods for collecting samples, as well as the identification and measurement of drugs in either urine (AS/NZS 4308:2008) or oral fluid (AS 4760-2006).
These tests can detect the presence of drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, and benzodiazepine (BZO).
Urine tests are typically conducted by taking a sample of an employee’s urine in a certified cup that is verified to the Australian Standard. The process is quick and the result is accurate where they are typically ready in 1-2 minutes. Urine tests are considered to be the most accurate type of workplace drug test.
Another type of workplace drug test is saliva testing. Saliva tests can detect the presence of drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, methamphetamine, and benzodiazepine (BZO).
Hair Follicle Testing
A less common type of workplace drug test is hair follicle testing. Hair follicle tests detect drugs like marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, methamphetamine, phencyclidine (PCP), and opioids. Considered the most accurate workplace drug test, hair samples are collected from employees and sent to a lab for analysis. The hair follicle test can identify drug use over a longer period, with results typically returned within two weeks. This extended detection window and high accuracy makes hair testing advantageous despite being less common than other methods.
In-House Testing vs. Outsourcing - What’s Better?
Testing for drugs and alcohol has become much more commonplace in recent years. There is a never-ending stream of people searching for rapid, quick, and reliable test results as a result of the widespread requirement for drug testing among organisations nowadays.
High quality drug testing kits have made it easier for businesses to conduct these tests in-house instead of hiring an outside service. Testing kits that are verified to the Australian Standards are rapid and reliable, always source your kits from a reputable Australian supplier.
Workplace drug and alcohol testing is a great way to improve safety, productivity, and absenteeism in your workplace. By knowing what drugs are being used, how they are being used, and when they’re being used, you can make sure that your workplace is a safe and healthy environment for everyone involved.