Drug Test in Australia: What Are The Various Methods
18 August, 2023
Drug use is one of the most dangerous things for a workplace. Many work environments are dangerous as is. They may have heavy machinery, use chemicals, involve moving vehicles, and more. Adding drugs into this mix spells disaster. Aside from their inherent dangers, they can completely alter a person’s actions or self-control. Therefore, it is crucial to prevent their use in and around work. The different methods of drug tests in Australia include blood, hair, urine, saliva, and breath tests.
Drugs can be deadly on their own. They can kill or harm the user or those around him. It is an employer’s responsibility to police drug use in the workplace. The company should provide a safe place to work. Drug tests are one way to do this. This article will present the uses of drug testing in Australia, including the methods used and policy development.
What Drug Tests in Australia Are For
Drug tests in Australia are an easy way to monitor drug use. It can be used for different purposes, such as in sports and employment. These tests check for the presence of drugs in a person’s system. Depending on the test, they may be able to tell if the person used drugs a long time ago.
Drugs pose a major risk in the workplace. If used before or during work, they can cause a person to make fatal accidents or harm their coworkers. Therefore, testing employees for drug use is a way to keep an eye on their habits. If a person uses drugs and nobody knows, they may not reveal their use until it is too late.
When a person failed the tests for drug use, this alerts their management to the problem. They can take the necessary action to get help for that employee. If necessary, they can remove that employee from situations where they could pose a threat to others.
- Blood test– this test is the most invasive, but usually the most accurate.
- Hair test– slightly less invasive, these tests can reveal drug use from some time ago.
- Saliva test– one of the easier tests to conduct, testers can retrieve samples quickly. They simply swab the inside of the subject’s mouth with a cotton pad.
- Breath test- it utilises breathalysers to check for recent alcohol use. This is an easy way to ensure employees are not drunk on the job.
- Urine test– detects the presence of drugs or their metabolites in a person’s urine sample.
How to Conduct Drug Tests in Australia
The wide variety of tests means there are several ways to conduct drug tests in Australia. Each type of test requires different equipment and times to complete. Urine and saliva tests are fairly easy to conduct. Samples for these do not take too long to collect. Consequently, a company may conduct them monthly or randomly without losing too much time.
Blood and hair tests may require additional resources. Clinics can assist with administering these tests and facilitate their analysis. This makes them more costly and time-consuming. These may happen less frequently, perhaps following safety incidents.
For alcohol detection, employers can use a breathalyser test. This only checks for recent alcohol use, but is a good measure to ensure nobody was drinking before work. To conduct this test, simply turn the device on, wait for it to say it is ready, and then blow into it. It will calculate and show results quickly. This makes it possible to check employees daily.
Considerations for Results
Once the test samples reach the lab, they will undergo analysis. A medical professional will review the results to help the employer understand what they mean. This will account for prescription medications to protect employees, in case those medications have led to a positive result.
Once you have results, refer to your company’s drug use policy. You have to follow whatever procedures for positive results are outlined there. Before taking any action, it is best to consult with a legal team for advice. They can best explain options and give recommendations for what to do.
Making a Company Policy for Drug Tests in Australia
To maximise safety and legitimise drug tests in Australia, a company needs to make a drug use policy. This allows them to lay out standards and expectations for employees, as well as warn them about how tests may occur. Firstly, it should send the message that safety is important. Make sure to specify accepted tolerance. A zero-tolerance policy is always safest. If your company works in a low-risk environment, you can allow light alcohol consumption, like a beer at lunch.
Secondly, set out testing criteria and penalties for noncompliance. You may want to try to rehabilitate employees and give them another chance. On the other hand, you may not accept drug use at all and wish to fire employees who break the rules.
Lastly, when drafting a policy and test schedule, keep in mind the various test methods. A breathalyser may be easy to do every day to double-check employees’ Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) before they start work. Other methods like blood or urine may take more time. If you want to do a more invasive test, consider setting aside time in a day to test all employees at once.
Reasons to Test
There are many scenarios where a company may choose to conduct a drug test. These should be outlined in the drug use policy. This way, employees know what to expect. One common reason to test for drugs is if there is a workplace accident. A safety issue could prompt a company to investigate whether or not drugs were involved.
Another good policy is to institute random or routine testing. This lets the company test employees periodically to monitor them for drug use, even if there is no incident. It is a way to catch drug use before it creates a safety problem.
The dangers of drugs cannot be overstated. On their own, they can inflict massive harm on people. The user can permanently alter their health or even die. They can also hurt those around them and cause accidents, especially in the workplace. Companies need to monitor employees to ensure they do not endanger themselves or others. Checking them for drugs is the best way to do this. Drug tests in Australia are easy to conduct and worth the resulting safety.
There are several types of drug tests to choose from. Blood, saliva, urine, and hair can reveal drug use. Even simple breath tests can check for the presence of alcohol. Once a company establishes its drug use policy, it can begin testing employees. Everyone at work should understand that safety is the top priority. Not using drugs is the easiest way to ensure everyone is safe. Employers owe it to their employees to test for drugs to ensure compliance.