Drug and Alcohol Test in the Workplace: Vital Factors to Note

Multiple companies feature a “drug and alcohol testing” policy for their employees. Misusing these substances can negatively impact a person’s ability to execute their daily endeavours as intended, reducing organizational productivity and can put other employees at risk. 

Thus, it’s no surprise that many companies make these tests compulsory from the interviewing process to the assignment execution stage. 

These policies stress the importance of being healthy to execute organizational tasks without hassles.

A firm that integrates a drug and alcohol test policy for all employees “paves the way” for productivity in every ramification. This article examines the ins and outs of this activity, getting you in sync with what’s obtainable in Australia.

Top Reasons for Drug and Alcohol Testing

Like many other health surveillance programs featured in organizations, the drug and alcohol test is conducted for several reasons. 

Notable mentions include:

  • To avoid hiring individuals that’ll pose threats to the company’s overall safety levels
  • Identifies employees addicted to these substances and issuing techniques to aid seamless recovery
  • Determine workers who uphold company ethics to the T
  • Helps employers show a continued sense of social responsibility in their operational areas
  • Vital in curating data depicting liability and organisational risks

Drug and Alcohol Tests: What Does the Law State?

Workplace risk assessment programs in Australia have a set of defined regulations governing their execution. The same applies to drug and alcohol test policies in a company or firm.

In Australia, the entity conducting the drug and alcohol tests is responsible for managing or eliminating the risks posed by substance misuse. 

This policy is derived from the “Work Health and Safety Act 2011.”

Australian companies must follow set guidelines whilst performing drug and alcohol tests. These rules indicate the procedure for testing and specimen disposal.

These standards are entrenched in the following:

  • AS 3547-1997: Breath alcohol testing devices for personal use.
  • AS/NZS 4308-2008: Procedures for specimen collection and the detection and quantitation of drugs of abuse in urine.
  • AS 4769-2006: Procedures for specimen collection and the detection and quantitation of drugs in oral fluids

Breathalyser used to detect a person’s alcohol levels in real-time using breath

When Is Drug and Alcohol Testing Legitimate?

Drug and alcohol tests are legitimate in many contexts. However, these tests are more critical for individuals who intend to work in high-risk environments. Since the misuse of drugs and alcohol by workers can impact the company’s productivity levels and negatively affect the general public, it’s only normal for entities to implement this policy.

Speaking of high-risk environments, it’s typical to come across aviation firms with a risk consulting policy for all pilots that integrates drug and alcohol testing. Also, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority audits these programs to ensure standards are followed.

Besides aviation, other industry sections that fall under “high-risk” include:

  • Transport drivers
  • Heavy-duty machine operators
  • Military personnel
  • Firefighters

Those who handle toxic chemicals as part of their daily activities are subject to drug and alcohol testing as well as occupational hygiene assessment programs. 

Variations of Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace

Companies perform drug and alcohol tests in distinct manners. Notable mentions include:

  1. Random Testing

As the name implies, the company suddenly conducts this test. The aim is to sieve out staff misusing drugs and alcohol without offering them the chance to devise evasion techniques.

  1. Blanket Testing

All organizational employees are tested for drugs and alcohol in a single event. 

  1. Reasonable Cause

Employers conduct these tests when they suspect the worker of depicting characteristics tell-tale of drug and alcohol misuse.

  1. Pre-employment Testing

This testing route is for employees seeking a role in an organisation. It’s also executed when staff are heading out for assignments. 

  1. Post-Accident Testing

This drug and alcohol test variation occurs after a work accident. 

  1. Rehabilitation Testing

Performed on workers recuperating or have recovered from drug and alcohol misuse. 

Also Read: Top tips for purchasing a menstrual cup kit

Major Takeaway

Employment assessment measures such as drug and alcohol testing are vital in the workplace. This caveat’s enforcement represents a win-win for all parties – while the firm meets its target, employees have access to a risk-free environment as the chances of accidents ever happening is minimal.