What Do You Get from Drug Testing Services
16 June, 2023
Drug testing services provide individuals or companies with a comprehensive analysis of biological samples to detect drugs, alcohol, or other substances. Testing agencies provide in-clinic or on-site examinations to enable workplaces to monitor substance use or impairment. Moreover, substance-related issues affect many workplaces, including high accident rates, medical expenses, high absenteeism, and legal liabilities. Hence, businesses administer drug and alcohol tests to employees. Likewise, employers obtain testing services from certified laboratories or agencies to help manage occupational risks.
Occupational testing is essential for high-risk industries like mining, transportation, and construction to prevent hazards like falling, resulting in severe injuries. It aims to identify employees posing safety risks that can endanger the workplace. In addition, companies facilitate alcohol and drug testing in several circumstances. This article will cover what happens in a drug and alcohol test, situations for testing, handling results, and the devices used.
Drug Testing Services for the Workplace
Employers can avail of drug testing services from laboratories or clinics to help them monitor substance impairment at work. Testing agencies also offer policy development to help companies facilitate workplace tests legally. It includes setting clear goals, objectives, kinds of test procedures and handling positive test results. Moreover, a workplace policy is often part of the employment condition, especially for safety-critical jobs.
Once a workplace policy is established, employers can administer alcohol and drug testing for safety reasons. The standard test procedures are urine drug tests and alcohol breath tests. A urine test analyses urine samples for the presence of most abused drugs like amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, opiates, and phencyclidine (PNP). Companies use this method because it is less intrusive and affordable than a blood test.
Employers also include alcohol in drug testing as it is one of the leading factors of workplace accidents. A breath test through a breathalyser can detect alcohol and estimate the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). The BAC is the amount of alcohol in the system and signifies the level of impairment. Furthermore, testing centres use professional breathalysers with fuel cell sensors for accurate results.
Types of Test Procedures
Here are some of the most commonly employed drug test procedures:
- Urine – traces substances for up to 12 hours with traditional methods and 3 to 5 days with EtG
- Saliva – compounds stay on the saliva within 6 to 24 hours
- Blood – drugs are detectable in blood for 6 to 12 hours
- Hair – detection period of 90 days
- Breath – only detects alcohol for 12 to 24 hours
It’s important to note that the availability and choice of drug test procedures may vary depending on the purpose of testing, legal regulations, and the organisation or institution conducting the test.
Drug Testing Services: Test Programs
Many companies employ drug testing services on-site to allow employees to take the test and return to work after. Moreover, workplaces conduct drug and alcohol tests during pre-employment, post-incident, or at random. The pre-employment test is mandatory in regulated industries to prevent or minimise accidents. It helps employers determine if a job candidate possesses risky behaviour that would endanger the workplace.
A post-incident test is vital to see if alcohol or drugs played a role in the accident. Companies should conduct the test within a timeframe, typically six hours, from the time of the incident. This is because alcohol and illicit substances remain in the body for a limited duration. Therefore, conducting quick tests ensures the results are timely and accurate. Moreover, employers may also carry out a post-incident test on other employees who may have contributed to the event.
Some employees may work while under drug or alcohol influence without signs of impairment. However, it does not mean that they do not pose safety hazards. Therefore, random testing is designed to identify current intoxication or impairment in a person. Employers may arrange a drug test without prior notice.
Handling a Positive Test Result
Handling a positive drug test result can vary depending on the context in which the test was conducted and the organisation’s or institution’s policies. A company policy should include the consequences of positive test results. Employers may do a follow-up test to confirm the result. It is crucial to ensure the accuracy of the preliminary positive test to avoid making the wrong decision that may result in legal disputes.
Suspension for current employees after the confirmation testing. Employees may also undergo rehabilitation for alcohol abuse. An individual may also face termination for extreme cases. For pre-employment, a candidate may not get a job offer.
Devices Used in Drug Testing Services
Companies or testing agencies utilise various equipment according to the type of test. Many onsite testing uses instant drug test kits for rapid results. These instruments are portable and easy to use. Notably, a urine test kit includes a sampling cup and test strips that can change colour when it traces a drug. However, it can only detect substances but not measure the amount.
A breathalyser is a portable device used for alcohol breath analysis. It consists of sensor technology to measure the BAC levels. Therefore, it can determine the actual impairment level. A person provides a breath sample by blowing to the mouthpiece and reaching the sensors. Professional or workplace breathalysers like BACtrack and SHIELD Express utilise advanced fuel cell sensors to calculate the BAC accurately.
Fuel cell breathalysers are specific to ethanol and do not react with endogenous substances like acetone. Thus, it is unlikely to produce false positives. Companies can get a workplace breathalyser to use when necessary without relying on drug testing services. Furthermore, it is easy to facilitate an alcohol breath test, following the guidelines of correct breathalyser use.
Guidelines for Taking a Breath Test
Before a breath test, wait fifteen minutes after eating, drinking, or smoking. Take the test in a smoke-free room, avoiding enclosed spaces. Upon the start signal, take a deep breath and blow consistently. Next, wait for a few seconds to get the results.
Remember, these guidelines are general in nature, and specific instructions and requirements may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the type of breath test being conducted. It’s essential to follow the instructions provided during the test and seek legal advice if you have any concerns about the test results or your rights during the process.
Workplaces employ drug testing services to monitor employees with possible impairment and prevent accidents and injuries. Alcohol and drug misuse is a significant health and safety issue in Australian businesses. Therefore, implementing occupational testing through a company policy helps deter substance use and improve productivity. Additionally, employers seek cost-efficient methods to minimise testing costs. An excellent option is to use instant drug test kits and breathalysers for preliminary screening.
Workplace breathalysers like the BACtrack and SHEILD from Breathalysers Australia provide reliable alcohol testing through advanced sensor technologies and valuable features. They are also AS:3547 certified, ensuring optimal performance. For example, the SHIELD Identity includes passive and active testing modes and photo ID for full compliance. Moreover, consistent testing through reliable devices helps employers manage health and safety risks and avoid legal liabilities. Companies may avail of laboratory services or use certified devices to maintain a hazard-free environment.