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Drug and Alcohol Lab Test Information Guide

Drug and alcohol use has adverse consequences to short-term and long-term health. These illicit substances affect almost all body organs, including the liver, heart, and brain. The short-term effects include impairment in a person’s senses, perception, judgment, and motor skills. Physical impairments lead to safety risks, especially in operating a vehicle and heavy pieces of machinery. To reduce drink-driving accidents, Australia sets the legal limit for alcohol at 0.05% BAC (Blood Alcohol Content). You can quickly estimate your BAC through a breathalyser device like BACtrack. Despite the stricter laws and heavier penalties, substance-impaired driving still contributes significantly to accidents Australia. Similarly, workplaces implement programs to minimise the risks of accidents through consistent a drug and alcohol lab test.

The BAC is the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream. For instance, the more you consume alcohol, the higher your BAC level goes. Different BAC levels have corresponding impairment effects. A low-range BAC creates mild euphoria and low inhibitions. A moderate BAC level has minor impairment in vision, hearing, judgment and memory and lowering of caution. Lastly, a high-range BAC (0.10% and higher) significantly loses coordination, balance, speech, and reaction time. Similarly, the drink-driving offences vary according to the BAC at the time of the test. The penalties include hefty fines, driving disqualification, and alcohol interlock programs. Police officers conduct roadside screening and an evidential drug and alcohol lab test for positive results. Breathalysers Australia offers BACtrack breathalysers to check the BAC level before driving to avoid accidents and legal charges.

Workplace Health and Safety Policy

A drug and alcohol lab test detect alcohol and other illicit substances use and intoxication. More employers nowadays adopt workplace policies to reduce injuries and minimise costs. Primarily, the Work Health and Safety Act oblige all employers to keep the working environment safe and healthy at all times. Under the Act, the employer must eliminate occupational hazards where practically reasonable. Therefore, it is imperative to incorporate alcohol and drug testing to manage safety risks efficiently. A comprehensive program can effectively carry out alcohol and drug tests for the best interests of the workplace and the workers. The program is a set of strategies, initiatives, and policies, to uphold a safe and healthy environment in consultation and agreement with employees. When executed correctly, it can sustainably improve health, productivity, and overall output quality. 

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Types of Substances and Lab Tests

Different drugs can have various physiological and behavioural effects. Once consumed, drugs and their metabolites can stay in the body for 72 hours or longer. A drug and alcohol lab test examine the blood, urine, saliva, and breath samples for the most commonly used substances. The employer avails the services of an accredited laboratory or testing centre to facilitate the tests. Most workplace testing is on-site via a mobile laboratory. The testing centre sets up an isolated room to collect specimen samples for analysis. In particular, a breath sample test through a breathalyser determines alcohol use. Meanwhile, drug tests identify the most consumed substances in Australia, such as:

  • Cannabis
  • Cocaine
  • Ecstasy
  • Hallucinogens
  • Inhalants
  • Ketamine

Alcohol Breath Tests

A drug and alcohol lab test uses a pro-grade breathalyser to measure the BAC level through the sample breath. Breathalyser Australia has professional BACtrack alcohol testers suitable for personal or professional use. Most BACtrack breathalysers employ fuel cell sensor technology to estimate the precise BAC level. Fuel cell breathalysers have police-grade accuracy, the technology used by police officers in roadside screenings. It is also the breathalyser that hospitals and clinics in Australia trust and use. Furthermore, fuel cell sensors have the highest accuracy due to their high sensitivity to ethanol than any standard semiconductor breathalysers. They maintain their accuracy and consistency over a longer period and several applications. The linear response of the fuel cell can accurately measure trace concentrations of alcohol right through 0.400% BAC.

When to take a Drug and Alcohol Lab Test

The workplace may administer a drug and alcohol lab test as part of the policy. It can be random or scheduled. A random testing is to determine substance use among employees at any given time. Some might think that minimal amount of alcohol or drugs won’t harm the body or affect the ability to perform tasks. However, no matter how small the concentration is, it still pose huge risks to health or safety. On the other hand, a scheduled test is a mandatory testing procedure to determine if employees are recently using drugs or alcohol. Similarly, some workplace have pre-employment drug testing as part of the hiring process. It is crucial to know whether the job applicant has history of substance use. Lastly, a post-incident test takes place after an accident occured. It helps to know whether the accident is substance-related or not.

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Benefits of Drug and Alcohol Testing

It is crucial to know who among the workforce are under the influence of illicit substances. An effective workplace policy can improve the overall working conditions by deterring drug and alcohol use. In particular, drug testing is critical for high-risk industries to maintain safety. For example, mining, transportation, construction, manufacturing, and healthcare rely on consistent drug and alcohol lab test to manage occupational hazards. Additionally, using a breathalyser like BACtrack can immediately determine if an employee is intoxicated. A workplace policy have the following benefits:

  • Promotes Safe Workplace – Testing for drugs and alcohol regularly minimises safety hazards. In addition, workers tend to consume less or observe healthier practices through awareness campaigns. 
  • Increases Productivity – Employees perform better when their environment is safe and healthy. A healthy environment boost productivity, decreased absenteeism, downtime, and turnover rates. 
  • Reduced Costs – Workplace accidents costs the economy billions of dollars each year. Less accidents mean reduced healthcare expenses or revenue loss. 
  • Treatment for affected employees – The program can extend employee assistance for treatment and rehabilitation.

Devices at Breathalysers Australia

A drug and alcohol lab test is essential in improving the overall safety framework in the workplace. A standardised procedure and reliable equipments are vital in upholding the trust and confidence in workplace testing. You may maintain or monitor sobriety through the professional BACtrack breathalysers. If you need one for your workplace or for personal use, you can find one at Breathalysers Australia. Breathalysers Australia has a comprehensive range of alcohol testers for personal or professional purposes. The BACtrack breathalysers have keychain alcohol testers, smartphone, and professional breathalysers. In particular, the BACtrack breathalysers utilising Xtend fuel cell sensors have FDA approval and DOT compliance for a breath screening device. The BACtrack breathalyser are beneficial in moderating alcohol consumption. You can also use a breathalyser to monitor the decline of your BAC level so you can be safe for driving or working.