truck-icon-red-banner

Same day local dispatch

australia-icon-red-banner

Australian owned

Breathalysers

1-3 year warranty

breathalyser

Australia's industry specialist

Drug and Alcohol Testing Pre Employment: What Is It And What Are The Types of Tests?

14 November, 2023

A row of applicants waiting for their interview

Nowadays, drug and alcohol abuse are prevalent issues. These can have severe consequences, especially in the workplace. To ensure workplace safety, companies have implemented drug and alcohol testing for pre-employment. Pre-employment testing is when companies require a substance use test for a job offer. They may use blood, hair, saliva, breath, and urine tests to determine which applicant is suitable for safety-critical jobs. A positive result may lead to disqualification from the job.

This type of testing is crucial for high-risk industries such as construction, mining, and transportation. Companies must reduce safety risks and provide a healthy work environment for employees, visitors, and contractors. This helps increase productivity and reduce the turnover rate. Moreover, it enables employers to comply with the relevant safety legislation and regulations. This article will present what pre-employment testing is, what tests are used, and what happens after a positive result.

What is Drug and Alcohol Testing for Pre-Employment

Drug and alcohol testing for pre-employment is when companies screen potential employees for the presence of drugs and ethanol in their system. Employers conduct these tests as part of the hiring process to ensure applicants are free from substance abuse disorders. This is crucial when appointing workers for safety-critical positions, especially in high-risk industries.

In their job postings, companies must inform applicants that passing a liquor and drug test is required for a job offer. They must also state the different methods they can use and the substances they will test for. Doing so signals to the prospective employee about the company policy regarding drug and alcohol misuse.

Employers may mitigate risks and comply with the relevant laws and regulations by implementing pre-employment screening. Accidents can cause severe damage to the reputation of the company. Furthermore, it increases insurance expenses and exposes them to legal liabilities. This is why companies include pre-employment testing as one of the reasons for conducting screening in their workplace drug and alcohol policy.

Purpose of the Process

These are some of the purposes of conducting drug and ethanol screening during the hiring process:

  • To identify individuals with substance use disorder and those more prone to reckless behaviours and prevent them from compromising workplace safety.
  • It allows them to identify individuals who may contribute to absenteeism, tardiness, and lower productivity.
  • Employers reduce the risks of accidents by hiring responsible candidates. Incidents may increase medical and insurance expenses and damage the reputation of the company.
  • Companies may increase productivity and morale by ensuring workers are not physically and mentally impaired from drug and alcohol consumption.

A professional collecting a saliva sample

Types of Methods in Drug and Alcohol Testing for Pre-Employment

Employers may use various methods in drug and alcohol testing for pre-employment. These screening methods can detect many substances that may cause impairment. Urine tests are commonly used during workplace testing. Using urine samples has a detection window of 24 hours. Furthermore, ethyl glucuronide (EtG) tests extend this time to 80 hours.

Meanwhile, saliva tests are often used during onsite testing. This is because of the convenient and non-invasive method of collecting saliva samples. Oral fluid testing detects traces of substances within 12 hours of intake. Another convenient screening method is the breath test. This measures the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels of an individual and can detect ethanol within 24 hours.

Hair follicle screening provides the lengthiest detection period of 90 days. This helps trace a history of substance use. However, it does not include drugs and alcohol consumed seven days before collection due to the nature of hair growth. Lastly, blood tests offer the most accurate results. Typically, it has a detection window of 12 hours. However, Phosphatidylethanol (PEth) and Carbohydrate-Deficient Transferrin (CDT) tests increase the detection of ethanol to weeks.

Commonly Detected Substances

Companies may select which substances they wish to trace during pre-employment testing. They may include prescription medication, alcohol, and illicit substances. This is what determines which panels the testing service will use during analysis. Some of the commonly detected substances are ethanol, marijuanacocaine, amphetamines, opiates, and phencyclidine (PCP).

These substances cause significant impairment to individuals. In addition, they are highly addictive and cause many adverse health effects. In particular, amphetamines are stimulant drugs that hastens messages between the brain and the body. It is commonly used in treating narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There are also illegal forms, such as crystal methamphetamine.

A professional explaining the results of a drug and alcohol test

What Happens After a Positive Drug and Alcohol Testing for Pre-Employment

Several steps are typically taken after a positive result of drug and alcohol testing for pre-employment. The consequences may vary depending on the company policy and the nature of the job. In many cases, it leads to the withdrawal of the job offer. This is especially so if passing the test is a requirement for the position. Thus, it is crucial to ensure the accuracy of the report.

A non-negative test result is indicative of irresponsible behaviour and alcohol and drug issues. In some cases, companies may need to inform local authorities of the consumption of illicit substances. However, they must ensure privacy and confidentiality and inform only relevant personnel. Furthermore, they must hear out petitions for a confirmatory test.

Several factors may contribute to a false positive result. This includes possible sample contamination and tampering. This is why employers must contact reliable testing services that follow strict protocols and meet the relevant standards. Furthermore, certain medical conditions and secondhand exposure may result in false positive results. Thus, employers should permit a follow-up meeting to discuss further actions and ensure fairness.

Can an Applicant Request for a Confirmatory Test

Applicants may request confirmatory testing to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the previous results. In these cases, companies may use blood and hair tests to provide a history of substance use and more accurate results. They may also instruct the laboratories to use advanced methods, such as gas chromatography-mass spectrometry GC-MS).

Typically, laboratory testing has a turnaround time of two days to a week. This depends on the complexity and quantity of substances tested. The employer may discard the initial result if the laboratory confirmatory test provides a negative result for substance misuse. By using these, companies can ensure fairness and prevent false accusations.

Conclusion

Drug and alcohol testing for pre-employment is crucial for identifying applicants who misuse alcohol, medication, and illicit drugs. These ensure the capabilities and qualifications of potential employees. Furthermore, it prevents individuals prone to reckless behaviours from causing accidents that injure employees or the general public. This helps ensure workplace safety and helps mitigate legal risks. It also aids in protecting the reputation of the company and increasing productivity.

Employers may use various tests to trace misuse of liquor, illegal drugs, and prescription medicines. Blood, hair, saliva, breath, and urine tests provide reliable results when screening for substance misuse. However, there are still chances for false positives. In these cases, companies must maintain privacy and confidentiality. They may set follow-up meetings to converse with the applicant. Furthermore, they may allow the applicant to undergo confirmatory testing to prove their innocence and gain more accurate results.

0
    Shopping Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop
      Calculate Shipping
      Shipping options will be updated during checkout.

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Is Device Size Important?

      Is Device Size Important?

      Is Device Size Important?

      Driving Restrictions? (P Platers, Zero Tolerance etc)

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended