Alcohol and substance abuse causes thoughts of accidents each year. The misuse of alcohol and other drugs negatively impacts health and safety. In particular, they can impair the senses, perception, reasoning, and motor functions. As a result, the reduced abilities pose high risks while driving or working. Moreover, alcohol and substance misuse can also affect many industries. It is one of the contributing factors of workplace accidents and injuries, especially occupations involving the operation of machinery. For this reason, many companies implement drug and alcohol medical test programs to manage hazards. A comprehensive workplace policy can significantly deter substance use and reduce unfortunate incidents.
A drug and alcohol medical test can identify ethyl alcohol, illicit substances, and prescription drugs in the body. Specifically, high-risk industries have a zero-tolerance policy to eliminate all preventable risks. For instance, a minor impairment in mining, transportation, or manufacturing can compromise safety. Therefore, these sectors conduct regular workplace testing to monitor their employees’ conditions. Also, a workplace policy is imperative to manage risks effectively. A drug and alcohol program allows an employer to maintain an alcohol and drug-free environment. In addition, it can identify workers with substance abuse problems and refer them for treatment. The standard alcohol and drug tests methods are breath, urine, saliva, and blood sampling.
Drug and Alcohol Medical Test: Workplace Policies
A drug and alcohol medical test is mandatory for safety-regulated industries. However, private organisations may also establish workplace testing through a comprehensive program. Unfortunately, many people think that drug and alcohol tests invade privacy or employee rights. A workplace policy enables an employer to conduct drug and alcohol tests to ensure safety and reduce liabilities. Before you can test employees, they must first understand and agree to the policies. As an employer, you must collaborate with the staff to develop a solution that best serves your interests. A cost-efficient way to keep the working environment safe and healthy is through consistent testing. The company may test employees under the following situations:
- Pre-employment – Pre-employment tests are part of hiring to determine if the job applicant use illicit substances that may compromise workplace safety. A successful application depends on the passing of the test.
- Random – The employer may test employees unannounced to determine the substance impairment at any time.
- Scheduled or periodic – Annual physical examinations include alcohol and drug screening.
- Post-incident – A medical test is crucial to identify alcohol or drugs that contributed to the accident.
- Reasonable Suspicion – If an employee shows symptoms of impairment, a supervisor may request for a drug and alcohol medical test following strict guidelines.
Drug and Alcohol Medical Test: Workplace Testing
Substance abuse may vary between organisations. Therefore, a well-designed workplace policy must fit the company’s particular needs. It can help reduce the risks and injuries brought by substance impairment. In particular, when the body ingests alcohol or drugs, they pass through the stomach and small intestines to the blood. Additionally, different substances stay in the body for specific periods depending on the amount. For example, a breath test through a breathalyser can detect alcohol in the system for 12 to 24 hours from last consumption. Alternatively, there are several methods to conduct a drug and alcohol medical test in the workplace. The most common are:
The employer may request an accredited laboratory to conduct an on-site drug and alcohol medical test. In particular, a breath test is the standard method to detect alcohol. The breathalyser would show a BAC (blood alcohol content) amount if a person consumed alcohol earlier. On the other hand, urine or saliva tests can detect commonly used drugs like amphetamines, THC, cocaine, and phencyclidine. If the test shows positive results, a confirmatory test is necessary. Usually, the testing centre uses a blood test to get the exact alcohol or drug concentration.
A Look on Alcohol Breath Test
A breathalyser is a portable device that estimates the BAC through a sample breath. In particular, the BACtrack professional breathalyser uses fuel cell sensor technology to measure the alcohol concentration accurately. For instance, the BACtrack fuel cell breathalysers undergo an electrochemical process to oxidise alcohol in the breath. The chemical reaction produces small electrical currents based on the volume of alcohol and translates it into BAC. In addition, fuel cell breathalysers have high sensitivity to ethanol. As a result, acetone or other substances in the mouth do not interfere with the BAC results. Testing centres use fuel cell breathalysers like BACtrack in conducting a drug and alcohol medical test in the workplace.
Conducting a Workplace Testing
An organisation may conduct a drug and alcohol medical test following the provisions included in the policy. For instance, you may implement workplace testing to ensure safety. The testing centre may set up a mobile unit near the worksite to collect specimens. A licensed medical professional obtains the sample following a chain of custody. In particular, they must adhere to the Australian Standards for urinary and oral fluid screening. The standards include correct procedures for procuring, storing, and examining specimen samples. Additionally, the urine drug test is the standard procedure for drug screening. It is because they are least intrusive than using a blood sample. The urine analysis can detect different drugs for three days to several weeks. For example, cannabis has a detection window of 7 to 30 days.
Factors affecting a Drug and Alcohol Medical Test
Various factors may affect the outcome of a drug and alcohol medical test in the workplace. In some cases, some people return with positive test results even if they do not take recreational drugs. For example, prescription medications like antidepressants and antibiotics can cause false-positive results. Meanwhile, many factors can influence the BAC in an alcohol breath test. For example, your age, weight, gender, body fat content, food intake, and metabolism rate plays a role in the increase of your BAC. Therefore, understanding how alcohol works in your body can help you monitor your alcohol level. If you have a positive test result, inform a medical officer if you take OTC or certain drugs.
Alcohol Testers: Where to Get
A drug and alcohol medical test in the workplace is a proven effective deterrent to substance abuse. They help reduce accidents and maintain the safety and well-being of employees. Furthermore, their implementation improves productivity and lessen downtime and turnover rates. They also promote healthier practices and increase employee morale. In addition, detecting and assessing alcohol and other drug use makes the company compliant with state laws regarding risk management. Moreover, monitoring workplace sobriety is more efficient with a professional breathalyser. Breathalysers Australia provides reliable alcohol breath tests through the BACtrack breathalysers. In particular, the BACtrack Pro series have police-grade accuracy, the same technology used by law enforcement in roadside screenings. You may also use pro-grade breathalysers for personal use to ascertain safety wherever you go.