For Cause Drug and Alcohol Testing – What Does It Mean?
30 October, 2023
For cause drug and alcohol testing refers to conducting substance screenings due to specific reasons or suspicions. It is done when a person exhibits signs of drug and alcohol abuse-related impairment. This includes slurred speech, uncoordinated movements, perceivable odours, and erratic behaviour. Furthermore, companies may conduct this after accidents or near misses to determine the cause. These tests provide the advantages of ensuring workplace safety, mitigating legal risks, and deterring substance abuse.
Companies may use various methods to screen for substance use. This includes blood, urine, saliva, and breath alcohol testing. However, they must also establish a clear drug and alcohol policy that employees agree to. They must also ensure fairness and privacy of results. These policies are vital to maintaining safety in high-risk industries. This article will present the functions, people subjected to, and advantages of for cause alcohol and drug testing.
Definition of For Cause Drug and Alcohol Testing
For cause drug and alcohol testing refers to conducting drug and alcohol tests based on specific reasons or suspicions. This test is typically in workplaces or professional settings. It is done when there is reasonable cause to believe someone is showing observable signs of impairment or abnormal behaviour while performing their job.
Moreover, it is done when incidents that raise concerns about their ability to do their job safely occur. This is crucial for jobs or activities where safety and performance are critical, such as operating heavy machinery. The purpose of for-cause testing is to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals. It helps workers avoid accidents, which may cause injuries or death.
Furthermore, one of the responsibilities of employers is to maintain safety in the company. This allows them to ensure legal compliance and follow the standards needed. High-risk industries, in particular, are strict regarding establishing substance use policies. They need to identify safety risks in the workplace and use several kinds of tests to do so.
Common Types of Tests
Here are some of the screenings used for substance use:
- Urine tests are the standard tests for substance use. It uses urine samples to detect ethanol and drug metabolites within 24 hours of intake.
- Saliva tests may detect substances consumed for up to 12 hours. The saliva collection procedure involves using a swab stick under the tongue or inside the cheeks.
- Blood tests typically have a detection window of 12 hours. However, Phosphatidylethanol (PEth) tests detect alcohol consumption weeks before.
- Breath alcohol tests measure the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels of people using breath samples for up to 24 hours.
Who is Subjected to Take For Cause Drug and Alcohol Testing
For cause drug and alcohol testing is often done when an employee exhibits behaviour that suggests impairment due to substance use. Several signs may appear when a worker is under the influence of substances. This includes slurred speech, perceivable odour of liquor or drugs, unsteady movements, reduced productivity, and erratic behaviour. It is the responsibility of businesses to prohibit entry to these people and ensure the safety of all employees.
Furthermore, involvement in an accident or near miss is another reason for taking a substance use screening. Learning the cause of accidents is crucial for the company. This allows them to collect evidence if the reason was impairment due to substance use. It may also determine innocence and switch focus to other factors.
Companies may also require pre-employment drug tests on potential employees. This allows them to identify people at higher risk for reckless behaviours. However, they must inform applicants in the job description. Details must include the type of test and substances they will test for. Additionally, drivers may undergo roadside tests for drink driving.
Can an Employee Refuse a Test
In certain situations, a worker may refuse a test. However, this is dependent on the applicable laws and circumstances. Moreover, some industries require workers to take substance screening tests for health and safety requirements. These companies often have substance use policies the employee has agreed to.
Depending on the circumstance, refusing a test may have several consequences for the employee. Companies may take disciplinary actions, such as warnings, suspensions, or terminations. This imposes the commitment of the company to safe working conditions. However, companies must also maintain fairness in implementing these procedures. They must also ensure the privacy of results.
Advantages of Implementing For Cause Drug and Alcohol Testing
For cause drug and alcohol testing provide many advantages to employers and employees alike. Firstly, it deters employees from abusing substances. This is beneficial for their health as misuse of liquor, medication, and illicit drugs causes many severe health conditions. Secondly, it improves workplace productivity since abusing substances may decrease physical and cognitive abilities. Thirdly, it reduces absenteeism and tardiness due to drug and alcohol misuse.
Furthermore, it allows companies to identify those with substance use disorder. This enables early intervention and provides medical professionals with information for treatment. Additionally, companies provide support during treatment with employee assistance programs. Companies may also implement programs to educate workers about substance abuse. This improves the working environment by reducing social tensions caused by withdrawal symptoms.
Moreover, regular testing may reduce accident rates and workplace hazards. It may also reduce company costs for injuries and help protect their reputation. Ultimately, implementing testing is crucial for companies to maintain their success and protect the well-being of their employees.
Accuracy and Reliability
Substance use testing does provide accurate and reliable results. However, certain factors may affect which substances are identified. Some factors include the type and amount of substance consumed, age, gender, and body type. Additionally, the time of testing matters due to differing detection windows. Thus, it is possible to have false positive or negative results.
However, companies may improve accuracy by partnering with reliable service providers. Staff who follow strict procedures and relevant standards reduce the risk of contamination or tampering. Furthermore, confirmation testing after a non-negative result lessens the risk of unwarranted disciplinary actions.
For cause drug and alcohol testing is vital to maintaining workplace safety. It enables companies to identify people who are abusing liquor, prescription, and illegal drugs. Employers may conduct this testing if there is reasonable suspicion of impairment due to substance misuse. It is their responsibility to provide a safe working environment for all employees. Additionally, workers may refuse such tests. However, it may result in disciplinary action depending on the applicable laws and policies.
Employers may use different tests to determine substance use. However, these tests are not 100% accurate. Thus, they should have policies in place for non-negative results. This may include confirmatory testing using other laboratory tests to ensure accuracy. It is better to diversify tests for more reliable results. Using alcohol breathalysers is a helpful way to check BAC levels. BACtrack breathalysers are available at Breathalysers Australia.