Accidents on the worksite can happen anytime. However, when an employee works under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it increases the safety hazards significantly. Alcohol and illicit substance use impair the senses, judgment, and motor functions. In addition, severe impairment leads to risky behaviour, poor decision making, and uncoordinated actions, critical in a work setting. Fortunately, most incidents are preventable through effective precautionary measures and workplace policies. In particular, employers under the Work Health Safety Act (WHS Act) of Australia must manage health and safety risks effectively. A strategy that many companies use is the implementation of a job drug test and alcohol test. A drug and alcohol test can help protect the staff’s well-being at all times.
Substance use and impairments cost the economy billions of dollars every year to healthcare and compensation expenses. Furthermore, prevailing drug and alcohol use decreases productivity and increases downtime and absenteeism. A comprehensive workplace program enables the company to enact preventive measures to keep the work environment safe and healthy. For example, through a job drug test and alcohol test, you can eliminate the hazards associated with substance use. A drug and alcohol test screens for the presence of alcohol and other commonly used recreational drugs. Workplace testing is vital in safety-critical industries like mining, transport, construction, and manufacturing. These sectors have zero-tolerance policies to ensure the safety of the workers and the general public.
Advantages of a Job Drug Test and Alcohol Test
Alcohol and drug use are known to impact our health, relationships, and the community negatively. It is also one of the leading factors of road collisions every year. The government imposes stricter laws and harsher penalties to reduce casualties and fatalities. Australia has a legal alcohol limit of 0.05% BAC (Blood Alcohol Content). The BAC level is the amount of alcohol in the blood, indicating your intoxication level. So, if you drive with a high BAC level, you will face criminal charges and penalties. Regardless of your industry, a job drug test and alcohol test can be crucial for managing risks effectively. Additionally, consistent testing helps maintain an alcohol and drug-free work environment. Workplaces that test employees regularly report the following benefits:
- Minimise accidents; lower incident rates
- Improve productivity and increase output
- Reduce costs and liabilities
- Compliance with state or federal laws
- Deter alcohol and substance use
- Assist affected employees
Job Drug Test and Alcohol Test
Upon the employer’s request, a testing centre may facilitate an on-site job drug test and alcohol test. Urine analysis or oral fluid test is the standard method for drug screening, while breath test for alcohol. Mainly, the urine can detect alcohol and most kinds of drugs, including prescription medications. In particular, it screens for commonly used substances such as marijuana, PCP, cocaine, ecstasy, opiates, and amphetamines. In addition, other methods include saliva or mouth swab tests and blood sample tests. A mouth swab test is an alternative when a lavatory is not available. A saliva test can detect alcohol and other drugs for 24 to 36 hours. A licensed professional collects specimens (urine, saliva, blood) for laboratory examination.
Meanwhile, a breath test through a breathalyser is used for alcohol screening. A breathalyser is a portable device that analyses alcohol in the breath to estimate the BAC. BACtrack devices from Breathalysers Australia effectively determine alcohol use and the precise intoxication level. For instance, if there is a positive drug or alcohol test result, a blood test is necessary to validate the initial results. In particular, the blood tests are the most accurate of all test types. However, it is also costly, time-consuming, and the most invasive. That is why a job drug test and alcohol test usually use blood sampling as a confirmatory test and post-incident cases.
Considerations of Job Drug Test and Alcohol Test Policies
Executing a job drug test and alcohol test, in the beginning, is not easy. You may encounter complaints or resistance from your staff. However, a testing program is crucial in keeping the workplace safe and healthy at all times. Therefore, a comprehensive policy is essential to carry out workplace testing. The policy must clearly outline the circumstances for implementing drug and alcohol tests. In addition, it should fit the company’s particular safety needs. Conversely, all employees should understand, conform, and cooperate with the reasonable job drug test and alcohol test procedures for safety. In particular, it should cover the following aspects:
- Acceptable and unacceptable guidelines for alcohol substance use
- When the test can occur
- Types of drug tests
- Procedures or methods of testing
- How the results will be used
- Consequences for a positive test result
- Employee assistance program
Understanding Alcohol Effects on the Body
Alcohol in moderation creates a sense of euphoria. Many people consume alcohol to relieve stress and tension. But, alcohol in higher doses severely impairs vision, speech, coordination, balance, and reflexes. In a short period, it may lead to mental confusion or unconsciousness. It is because the body absorbs alcohol rapidly and carries it to different organs through the blood. Within a few minutes, you will feel the effects right away. In contrast, the liver burns off alcohol at a fixed amount or approximately one standard drink per hour. Depending on your intake, alcohol can stay in your system for 12 to 24 hours. For instance, if you consume alcohol the night before a job drug test and alcohol test, the breathalyser can detect alcohol. Therefore, it is crucial to monitor your BAC so you remain within a manageable level.
BACtrack: Importance of Workplace Breathalyzers
Breathalysers Australia provides precise and reliable alcohol breath tests through the BACtrack breathalysers. In particular, professional breathalysers employ fuel cell sensors to measure the BAC accurately. It gives consistent BAC readings despite back-to-back testing. Moreover, fuel cell breathalysers are ethanol-specific and do not react with other substances. As a result, it is unlikely to produce false positives, especially for people with diabetes or with high acetone levels. Therefore, they are suitable for workplace or high-volume use. Fuel cell breathalysers are the standard devices used in a job drug test and alcohol tests. Lastly, the BACtrack breathalysers have police-grade accuracy, similar to the breathalysers used by law enforcement in roadside screenings.
Managing safety risks in the workplace is a top priority, especially in high-risk industries. By conducting a regular job drug test and alcohol test, you can significantly reduce hazards, casualties and injuries. A workplace testing program can also identify employees with substance abuse and refer them for counselling or treatment. In addition, the BACtrack workplace breathalysers are excellent tools to help monitor sobriety and ensure the safety and well-being of employees. You may also use the pro-grade BACtrack breathalysers for personal use. They are cost-efficient devices to help you check your BAC level from going over the legal limit. Breathalysers Australia has a wide range of keychain alcohol testers, professional, and smartphone breathalysers for your particular needs.