Alcohol and drug testing in the workplace is a sensitive issue. However, prevailing substance use causes severe impairment leading to accidents and injuries. In particular, substance-related incidents cost the economy billions of dollars every year. The high healthcare expenses, revenue loss, and compensation cost can set back an organisation from its targets or goals. Therefore, companies that value safety implement a workplace policy to minimise risks and accidents and reduce costs. However, employers must exercise caution before imposing alcohol and drug testing. Guidelines on alcohol drug test employment can help employers establish an effective policy.
There are a lot of factors to consider before executing an alcohol drug test for employment. First, it is best to consult with legal experts to help you design a comprehensive program. The workplace policy must serve your organisation’s particular needs and protect the well-being of the employees. In addition, it must have the agreement of employees before you can administer alcohol drug tests. Moreover, employers must provide a safe work environment by managing all preventable occupational hazards. An alcohol and drug test is one of the practical risk management strategies to prevent accidents and deter alcohol use. An alcohol breath test through a workplace breathalyser can determine employees with alcohol in their system. The BACtrack testers from Breathalysers Australia are suitable devices to keep the workplace alcohol-free.
Alcohol Drug Tests for Employment
A workplace test aims to identify employees working with alcohol or illicit substances in their system. Although alcohol is legal, excessive amount causes severe impairment in the senses, perception, and motor skills. In particular, it decreases the ability to operate vehicles or equipment safely. That is why alcohol drug test for employment is vital in managing safety risks. It can also address specific issues related to alcohol use, such as low productivity, absenteeism, and inappropriate behaviour. The guidelines of an alcohol drug test for employment can help you effectively manage safety risks while reducing liabilities. In general, the workplace policy should cover the following essential components:
- When the alcohol drug test can occur
- Types of substances to be tested for
- Methods of alcohol drug test
- How the results will be used
- Privacy or confidentiality
- Consequences for violating the policy
- Assistance program to support affected employees
Kinds of Alcohol Drug Test for Employment
There are several options for an alcohol drug test for employment. The standard methods include breath test for alcohol and urine analysis, saliva, or blood sampling for drugs. In particular, a breath test using a breathalyser can estimate a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC). The employee blows through the mouthpiece for the sensors to analyse. Workplace breathalysers like the BACtrack utilise fuel cell sensor technology to measure the BAC level accurately. Fuel cell sensors undergo an oxidisation process when they contact alcohol. The chemical reaction mainly produces small electrical currents based on the volume of alcohol in the breath and converts it into BAC. In 10 to 15 seconds, you will know if the person is intoxicated.
The alcohol drug test for employment also screens for the presence of illegal drugs or improper use of prescription medications. The common method workplaces or laboratories use is the urine sample test. A urine test can detect alcohol, drugs, or their metabolites. Typically, urine sampling screens for commonly used substances like:
Depending on the needs or situations, the employer may request testing for more drug types. In addition, the alcohol drug test for employment requires a confirmation test in case of a positive result. The confirmation test through blood sampling can verify the initial test results. A blood test can provide a complete analysis and measure the precise level or amount of drugs or alcohol.
Conducting Workplace Tests
A workplace policy guides when to administer an alcohol drug test for employment. Testing the workplace for alcohol and drug use in Australia is legal to maintain a healthy and safe environment. However, first, employees must sign a formal agreement or consent form to participate in the test. In addition, the employer must stick to the parameters of the workplace policy to avoid legal consequences. In general, you can carry out alcohol and drug test under the following situations:
- Pre-employment – The application process requires drug or alcohol examination to determine if a prospective employee use substances inappropriately that may compromise workplace safety. It helps employers determine if the individual is the right fit for the position.
- Random – The test is unannounced to identify possible impaired employees while working or who may be using illicit substances recreationally.
- Scheduled – The scheduled test is part of the annual medical examination to assess the employees’ physical or health status.
- Post-Incident – The company performs alcohol or drug tests after an accident or near-miss where a mechanical failure cannot explain the incident.
- Probable Cause – If an employee shows symptoms of impairment or violates company policy, the employer may request a drug test to conform to reasonable suspicion. Managers or HR officers should undergo training to handle probable cause testing or identify substance misuse.
- Post-treatment or Return-to-Duty (RTD) – An employee with previous positive test results or who underwent rehabilitation take an alcohol drug test to return to work. The new results should be clear or negative.
Alcohol Drug Tests for Employment: Advantages
The practical implementation of the alcohol drug test for employment can reduce high accident rates and workplace risk hazards. It also overturns low productivity into high outputs and high absenteeism into improved attendance. Furthermore, a safe and healthy working environment boosts employee morale and increases the company’s integrity. In addition, a comprehensive workplace policy can deter substance use and promote healthier practices. Finally, through alcohol drug tests, you can identify people with substance abuse problems and refer them to the right institutions. An assistance program should be available to help affected employees recover and regain accountability. The BACtrack breathalysers are reliable and cost-efficient devices to manage alcohol use or intoxication at work.
Breathalysers at Work
Alcohol is an intrinsic part of Australian culture. More than half of the working population consumes alcohol at least once a week. In moderate amounts, alcohol relieves stress and produces euphoric effects. Unfortunately, many people consume high doses of alcohol in a single session. As a result, they pose safety risks in driving or working. In addition, driving with a high BAC level has a higher chance of getting into a road accident or collision. A BAC level of 0.05% or higher constitutes a criminal offence. Police officers conduct roadside inspections to keep intoxicated or impaired drivers off the road. Moreover, an alcohol drug test for employment helps people limit their intake to work safely. In line with this, Breathalysers Australia offers a wide range of pro-grade BACtrack alcohol testers to monitor your BAC efficiently.