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Drug And Alcohol Testing in Sydney: The Need To Know

14 November, 2023

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Drug and alcohol testing in Sydney provides employees with a safe and healthy working environment. This procedure involves the collection and analysis of various biological specimens to detect the presence of alcohol and illicit drugs. It is essential in workplaces to prevent accidents and deter substance abuse. Moreover, there are several ways to avail of drug and alcohol testing services. One is to find a reliable facility that can conduct mobile or onsite testing.

The abuse of alcohol and recreational drugs is a serious issue that can have detrimental effects. It affects not only the individual but the society as a whole. To combat this problem, many organisations in Sydney and throughout Australia are implementing drug and alcohol testing programs. These programs aim to ensure a hazard-free workplace and promote the well-being of employees. This article will discuss what to consider in choosing a facility, types of test methods, and handling failed results.

Choosing an Appropriate Facility for Drug and Alcohol Testing in Sydney

Companies have several options in choosing an appropriate facility for drug and alcohol testing in Sydney. First and foremost, it is vital to ensure the laboratory meets the specific testing requirements of the organisation. This may include flexible testing options and the ability to conduct tests on demand.

Secondly, ensure that the testing centre follows the industry standards. Accreditation assures that the collection staff are qualified and competent. Thirdly, review the efficiency of the drug testing services. For instance, check how fast they can deliver the test results and their accuracy rate. This can help employers determine if the facility is suitable for their needs.

Another important consideration is the cost of testing. Working with an experienced team and advanced equipment can be costly, but they can provide reliable results. Lastly, the clinic location is key. In most cases, employers prefer to partner with the closest clinic to reduce travel time and costs. Fortunately, several collection centres in Sydney can easily be accessed.

Reasons to Conduct a Test

  • Risk management – workplace testing can identify employees working under the influence of drugs and alcohol. This helps manage the related hazards, minimising the risk of accidents and improving overall workplace safety.
  • Job performance – reducing substance use helps improve productivity as employees are free from the effects of alcohol and drugs. It also lessens absenteeism and tardiness.
  • Legal compliance – abidance with state and federal regulations is essential. This can help organisations avoid penalties or litigation due to negligence.
  • Cost – lowers overall cost because of accidents, hospitalisation, insurance claims, and property damage.
  • Employee relationships – there are fewer conflicts and disruptions due to substance use.

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Types of Drug and Alcohol Testing in Sydney

Workplaces conducting drug and alcohol testing in Sydney use various methods. One common procedure is urine drug testing. This method is relatively non-invasive and can provide accurate results within a short period. Accredited laboratories use the Australian Standards (AS4308:2008), specifying the proper collection and analysis of urine specimens.

Another option is saliva testing. This is a quick and non-invasive method that can detect drugs within minutes. It is also cost-effective and reliable, making it ideal for reasonable suspicion and onsite drug and alcohol screening. Moreover, the facility adheres to AS4760:2019 for the correct collection and analysis of saliva samples.

Additionally, breath testing can detect alcohol molecules within seconds. A breathalyser is a portable device that can measure Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). Professional settings must use breath alcohol equipment with AS3547:2019 certification to ensure accurate results. Lastly, blood testing is the most precise method to detect drug and alcohol use. However, this procedure requires an experienced collector and laboratory equipment. It is also the most intrusive and costly procedure.

Common Substances that are Tested for

Drug and alcohol tests look for common illicit drugs and alcohol. It includes screening for marijuanacocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, and opiates. In addition, some clinics may also offer testing for other drugs, like benzodiazepines and MDMA (ecstasy). These drugs can have significant effects on cognitive abilities and physical coordination.

Saliva and urine testing can detect alcohol and drug metabolites for 48 to 72 hours after consumption. Meanwhile, breathalysers can detect ethanol in the expired air. It is vital to check what drug classes each type is capable of detecting and its detection window so that employers can select the appropriate method.

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Implications of Failed Drug and Alcohol Testing in Sydney

A failed result for drug and alcohol testing in Sydney workplaces means that prohibited substances are found in the samples. This can have several implications, which may affect employment or lead to legal issues. Firstly, employees who fail the test may face disciplinary actions, such as suspension or termination. This is critical in high-risk industries like miningtransportation, and construction with zero-tolerance policies.

Secondly, the consequences may differ depending on the severity of the offence. Drug and alcohol use resulting in harm or injury to other people may lead to legal charges and expensive hospitalisation. Employers are responsible for the safety of their workers, and litigations due to negligence can have significant impacts on the company. Thus, regular workplace drug and alcohol testing helps avoid that risk.

Lastly, some organisations may refer employees to rehabilitation programs and counselling. This allows affected individuals to receive help in managing their addiction and prevents a relapse. These policies also allow employees to get back into work and recover from their addiction.

Is There a Possibility of a False Positive

No test method is 100% error-free. Though drug and alcohol testing are reliable, they may still produce false positives. It can arise from OTC or prescription medications that have similar structures to the target drug. Moreover, incorrect collection procedures or mishandling of samples can affect the accuracy of the test.

To minimise the risk of false positives, employers must use NATA-accredited laboratories (National Association of Testing Authorities) and certified devices. The testing centre should follow the strict chain of custody requirements, ensuring the reliability of results. Furthermore, conducting confirmatory testing is essential to validate non-negative results.

Conclusion

There are several choices to avail of drug and alcohol testing in Sydney, including accredited facilities and instant screening devices. A laboratory or testing centre provides a wide range of services to help with the safety requirements of the company. Nevertheless, employers should choose a testing facility based on their specific needs. Several factors need to be taken into account, such as accreditation, accuracy rate, and staff competence.

Companies may use various testing methods based on specific circumstances. The most common types are urine and oral fluid drug testing. On the other hand, breath testing can detect alcohol in seconds and measure the BAC. If initial drug screens return with a non-negative result, it is necessary to undergo confirmatory testing through GC-MS (Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry). Lastly, failing a test can have serious implications. Employees can face disciplinary actions, including suspension, termination, or rehabilitation.

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