Navigating Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing

Watch this video to learn about workplace drug and alcohol testing.

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Workplace drug and alcohol testing is crucial to maintaining safety, productivity, and compliance with legal regulations.

Whether you’re an employer looking to implement a drug testing program or an employee seeking information on your rights and responsibilities, this video will provide you with the essential information you need to navigate the complexities of workplace drug testing.

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Hair Follicle Drug Testing Infographic

Unlock the potential of hair follicle drug testing with our informative infographic.

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Hair follicle drug testing offers a comprehensive and reliable method for detecting long-term drug use patterns. This infographic provides an understanding of its principles, applications, and implications, empowering informed decisions in various contexts such as employment screening and legal proceedings.

Hair follicle drug testing offers a comprehensive and reliable method for detecting long-term drug use patterns. This infographic provides an understanding of its principles, applications, and implications, empowering informed decisions in various contexts such as employment screening, legal proceedings, and substance abuse treatment.

Hair Follicle Drug Testing: A Guide for Family Lawyers

Unlock the power of hair follicle drug testing for family law.

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In the realm of family law, particularly in cases involving child custody battles or allegations of substance abuse, the need for accurate and reliable drug testing methods is paramount.

Among the various options available, hair follicle drug testing stands out for its ability to provide a comprehensive history of drug use. As a family lawyer, having a solid understanding of hair follicle drug testing can be invaluable in building your case and advocating for your clients.

In this guide, we’ll address common questions family lawyers may have about hair follicle drug testing.

1. What is Hair Follicle Drug Testing?

Hair follicle drug testing is a method used to detect the presence of drugs in a person’s system by analysing a small sample of hair follicles.

Unlike other forms of drug testing, such as urine or oral fluid tests, which provide a snapshot of recent drug use, hair follicle testing can detect drug use over a longer period, typically up to 90 days.

2. How Does Hair Follicle Drug Testing Work?

When a person consumes drugs, traces of these substances are absorbed into the bloodstream and eventually deposited into the hair follicles along with other nutrients.

During hair drug testing, a hair sample is collected from the individual’s scalp, usually from the root end, and sent to a laboratory for analysis.

The laboratory then processes the sample using techniques such as Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (LC/MS) to detect the presence of specific drugs or their metabolites.

3. What Drugs Can Hair Follicle Testing Detect?

Hair drug testing can detect a wide range of substances, including but not limited to:

4. Is Hair Follicle Drug Testing Reliable?

Hair follicle drug testing is highly reliable when conducted by accredited laboratories using validated methods.

Unlike urine tests, which can be susceptible to adulteration or substitution, hair follicle testing is difficult to tamper with, making it a preferred option in many legal contexts.

However, it’s essential to ensure that the testing laboratory follows strict quality control measures and employs certified technicians to maintain the integrity of the results.

5. Can Hair Follicle Testing Determine the Timing of Drug Use?

While hair follicle drug testing can provide a historical overview of drug use over several months, it cannot pinpoint the exact timing of drug consumption with precision.

Factors such as the rate of hair growth and the length of the hair sample collected can affect the interpretation of results. Additionally, external contamination from environmental exposure to drugs can sometimes lead to false positives.

Therefore, it’s essential to consider these limitations when interpreting the results in a legal context.

6. How Can Hair Follicle Drug Testing Benefit Family Law Cases?

In family law cases, especially those concerning child custody disputes or allegations of substance abuse, hair follicle drug testing can serve as compelling evidence to substantiate or challenge claims made by either party.

With its extended detection window spanning up to 90 days, hair testing provides a more comprehensive depiction of a parent’s drug use behaviour over time. This detailed understanding can significantly impact custody decisions or visitation rights, offering courts a clearer insight into the parent’s ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the child.

Safework Health: Your Trusted Hair Testing Partner

Safework Health, as a leading provider of hair follicle drug testing services, prioritises strict adherence to chain of custody procedures to uphold the reliability and credibility of our results in legal proceedings.

With a nationwide network of NATA-accredited laboratories, we guarantee meticulous analysis of hair samples for traces of drugs, providing accurate results backed by rigorous testing methodologies.

Our commitment to delivering swift outcomes within 7 to 10 working days empowers family lawyers to make well-informed decisions efficiently in cases involving substance abuse allegations.

Contact Safework Health today to discover how we can support you in promoting a safer and healthier environment for families.

Demystifying The New Drug Testing Standard AS/NZS 4308:2023

Explore AS/NZS 4308:2023, reshaping workplace drug testing. Uncover vital changes impacting your program for effective compliance.

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Introducing the latest benchmark in workplace urine drug testing: AS/NZS 4308:2023. This new standard marks a significant departure from its predecessor, AS/NZS 4308:2008, bringing about key changes that have implications for your workplace drug testing program.

Delve into the details to better understand the modifications and their impact on your workplace.

About AS/NZS 4308:2023

AS/NZS 4308:2023 sets the benchmark for procedures concerning urine specimen collection, storage, handling, onsite drug screening tests, and dispatch to a laboratory. It’s a vital resource for maintaining best practices in drug testing.

Unveiling 3 Key Shifts in Workplace Drug Testing

  1. The first key change is a DECREASE in the screening cut-off for cocaine metabolites, from 300 ug/L down to 150 ug/L, and a corresponding drop in the confirmatory cut-off from 150 ug/L down to 100 ug/L. This should result in more detections on-site, along with confirmatory testing being more likely to match the initial screening result.
  2. The second key change is a DECREASE in the confirmatory cut-off levels for Benzodiazepine metabolites, from 200 ug/L down to 100 ug/L. This will reduce the likelihood of a non-negative on-site screen returning a confirmed negative confirmation due to a mixture of metabolites being present in the urine with no individual component over 200 ug/L. Screening cut-offs for Benzodiazepines remain at 200 ug/L.
  3. The third key change is allowing laboratories to report parent/metabolite drug(s) that are detected below the cut-off, but between the laboratories limits of quantitation (LOQ) and the cut-off, where another drug/metabolite has been detected above the cut-off. For example, when amphetamine is detected in a sample and a low level of Methamphetamine is present, that Methamphetamine result will additionally be reported to aid in the interpretation of results.

Other minor changes/additions include:

  • Expanded reference to Informed Consent in relation to scope of testing.
  • Centralised QC testing of devices at the main storage site, as opposed to on -site prior to testing.
  • Allowances for Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (LCMS) based screening of drugs, with cut-offs as per confirmatory methods.
  • Oxycodone has specified cutoffs for screening and confirmation, but is not included in the main testing panel.

Implementation Timeline

AS/NZS 4308:2023 also introduces a crossover period for 3 years where both standards are in effect, allowing manufacturers, laboratories, and collection agencies to implement changes when devices, laboratory procedures and processes have been updated to meet the new requirements.

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A Safework Health representative is available to discuss the upcoming changes and the proposed timeline for implementation. Contact our team today!

Shifting Opioid Patterns: The Rise of Fentanyl and Oxycodone in Australia

Explore the impact of fentanyl and oxycodone in Australia, uncover evolving trends, and discover workplace testing methods.

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Fentanyl and oxycodone, the key players in the opioid epidemic sweeping across the United States, have begun to reshape the landscape of opioid use in Australia. While usage rates here remain lower than in the US, recent studies reveal a shift in opioid consumption patterns.

In this engaging article, we delve into the world of fentanyl and oxycodone, exploring their impact on Australia, tracing the evolving usage trends, and shedding light on effective workplace testing methods for detecting their presence.

Fentanyl vs Oxycodone

Fentanyl and oxycodone are powerful and highly addictive opioids commonly used for pain management.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate drug that is 80 to 100 times more powerful than morphine.

It is used medically as an intravenous anaesthetic and analgesic. However, it is most often encountered as a transdermal (skin) patch to relieve long-term pain, or to supply relief to cancer patients and the elderly. The drug is often misleadingly marketed as ‘safe’.

These patches are frequently discarded when they are around two-thirds used as the quality of pain relief tends to drop over time. Unfortunately, these ‘used’ patches can be reused by addicts when they extract the fentanyl gel. This practice is called ‘dumpster diving’ because they often search for old patches in the garbage. They then distil the pure drug from the patches and often recrystallise the drug to form “Rock.” Fentanyl distillates can be smoked, or the patches can be used directly – either being pasted on the body or chewed.

Traditionally fentanyl powder is often mixed with low-quality heroin. Heroin supplies from Central Asia are drying up. This is pushing users to experiment with fentanyl.

Additionally, increasing amounts of fentanyl are being imported into Australia. Just last year, the Federal Police in Melbourne seized a shipment of fentanyl equivalent to 5 million individual doses.

What is Oxycodone?

Like fentanyl, oxycodone is a synthetic opiate often sold as Oxycontin or Endone which, when taken by mouth, is one-and-a-half times more potent than morphine.

Medically, it is used for managing moderate-to-severe acute or chronic pain and is normally sold as a controlled-release tablet to be taken every 12 hours. As with all opioids, oxycodone induces euphoria and is addictive.

Oxycodone is one of the most abused pharmaceutical drugs in the US and is significantly abused in Australia, although not (as yet!) at levels approaching those in the US.

Once a person becomes physically dependent on oxycodone, they experience strong cravings for the drug, leading to continued use despite the ongoing physical harm. They are also at risk of suffering severe withdrawal symptoms, which can include panic attacks, nausea, muscle pain, insomnia, and flu-like symptoms.

Overdoses can easily be fatal. When not fatal, they can cause spinal cord infarction and ischaemic brain damage that resembles a bad stroke. Oxycodone also interacts badly with many other prescribed drugs – especially some anti-HIV medications – which can substantially slow the rate of clearance of the drug from the body.

Combining Opioids With Stimulants

Oxycodone and fentanyl are now being increasingly used in combination with stimulants – especially of the amphetamine class (which includes Meth).

There is a long history of people combining opioids with stimulants, such as ‘goofballs’ combining methamphetamine with heroin and ‘speedballs’ which are a heroin plus cocaine mixture. Australia already has a widespread Meth problem, and the number of cases where opioids were combined with Meth is rising.

Oxycodone and Fentanyl Usage Trends in Australia

There is a growing opioid abuse culture in Australia.

Even in 2008, the National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre reported that 91% of injecting drug users in Australia report having used Oxycodone. 23% admitted to using it in the last 6 months.

Fentanyl use has been rising in Australia, especially over the last 4 years – most notably on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Programs to stop fentanyl use have been only partly successful as addicts often switch over to oxycodone.

Oxycodone and fentanyl use in Australia is substantially higher in regional areas than in urban and capital areas, but the overall use rate is significant in both areas.

Worksite drug testing has shown that the use of these drugs varies substantially over the week. In remote sites, importation may occur only on specific days – which is then reflected in higher capture rates over the next 24-48 hours.

Cracking down on one opioid – such as oxycodone – only appears to encourage users to switch to another opioid: specifically, fentanyl. This was seen in the closing years of the last decade in Queensland where a crackdown on oxycodone led to a rise in fentanyl abuse.

Surging Popularity of Fentanyl and Oxycodone: Examining the Pros and Cons

What is the danger if oxycodone and fentanyl use are on the rise?

Both fentanyl and oxycodone carry a high risk of making users dependent on the drugs, and both have what is called a narrow therapeutic window: a dose sufficient to bring on a high is not much less than the dose required to give a potentially lethal overdose.

The appeal of fentanyl and oxycodone is that the drugs are pharmaceutical – so they have a high purity, and users are less worried about contamination. The drugs are highly potent – ‘more bangs for the buck’ – and because of their rapid uptake cause a ‘quick high’ (especially fentanyl).

The advantage from a medical perspective is that fentanyl can be taken when a patient has an impaired liver, to treat neuropathic pain, and the patches can be used when a patient is nauseous, vomiting or has difficulty swallowing. For the user, the big attraction is that fentanyl is the fastest-acting opioid available.

Fentanyl is cheap – so it is a popular opioid for abuse. Unfortunately, it also has the most prolonged respiratory depression (suppression of the breathing reflex) of any opioid – which arguably makes it the most lethal.

Workplace Drug Testing: Detecting Oxycodone and Fentanyl Use

Common workplace drug testing methods include:

  • Urine Drug Testing – Oxycodone and fentanyl can be detected in a specifically requested assay in urine. Urine is the superior sample for both drugs, as the detection window is much greater than oral fluid – up to 4 days.
  • Oral Fluid Drug Testing – Oxycodone is included in routine oral fluid screening tests, unlike fentanyl which is not included in these tests. The detection window for oral fluid is 36 hours.
  • Wastewater Drug Testing – Wastewater drug testing is the best way to get a snapshot of the extent of actual opioid use at a workplace but should include weekend coverage as use varies greatly day-to-day.

Safework Health: A Leader In Workplace Drug Testing

Safework Health stands out as one of the select few laboratories in Australia capable of conducting urine testing specifically for oxycodone and fentanyl.

Plus, we offer a verified onsite urine drug screening device that can detect Fentanyl, Oxycodone and Ketamine.

Feel free to reach out to us today for a discreet and confidential consultation.

Meet The Author

Dr Phil Tynan, National Toxicologist

Dr Tynan, a distinguished Toxicologist and a retired Clinical Biochemist Pathologist, brings a wealth of industry knowledge and experience. He is considered an expert in testing for substances of abuse.

Dr Tynan primarily supports Safework Health in developing new drug assays and procedures. He also offers guidance to clients and expert clinical advice as needed.

Dr Tynan is a published toxicologist in internationally peer-reviewed journals and is available to provide advice and expert opinion regarding results, expert witness testimony and appearances at courts and tribunal hearings.

Learn more about Safework Health’s team.

Understanding Urine Drug Testing in the Workplace

Urine drug testing is the most common drug testing method used in occupational health.

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A urine drug test, or urine drug screen (UDS), is the most common method of workplace drug screening in Australia.

Many employers prioritise the safety and well-being of their employees by employing this method due to its speed and accuracy in detecting drug traces in urine samples.

A urine drug test aids both employers and employees in preventing hazardous situations that could potentially lead to accidents and fatalities.

What Drugs Does a Urine Drug Test Detect?

Employers in Australia typically request a standard drug screen, which includes screening for cannabis, cocaine, benzodiazepines, amphetamines, and opiates – five of the most abused drugs. This is commonly known as a five-panel drug test.

Pros And Cons Of Urine Drug Testing

While urine drug testing has its advantages, it’s important to note that each method has its own strengths and limitations.

The choice of testing method should be based on factors such as the specific drugs being tested for, the detection window required, the ease of sample collection, and the overall testing goals.

Advantages of a Urine Drug Test

  • Wide Detection Window: Urine testing typically has a longer detection window compared to saliva testing. Drugs and their metabolites can be detected in urine for a more extended period, making it suitable for detecting past drug use.
  • Ability to Detect a Wide Range of Substances: Urine testing can detect a broader range of substances compared to saliva testing, making it a preferred choice for comprehensive drug testing panels. It can detect both drugs and their metabolites.
  • Cost-Effective: Urine drug testing is often more cost-effective than hair testing, which can be more labour-intensive and expensive to process.
  • Immediate Results for On-Site Testing: For on-site testing, urine tests typically provide quicker results compared to sending samples to a laboratory, making them suitable for immediate decision-making.
  • Established and Reliable Method: Urine drug testing is a well-established and widely used method with a long history of reliability and accuracy.

Limitations of a Urine Drug Test

  • Invasiveness: Collecting a urine sample can be considered invasive, as it requires individuals to provide a urine specimen. Some people may find this process uncomfortable or embarrassing.
  • Ability to Cheat or Tamper: Some individuals may attempt to cheat or tamper with their urine samples to produce false-negative results. This can be done through various methods, such as dilution, adulteration with substances like bleach or vinegar, or using synthetic urine.
  • Need for Adequate Toilet Facilities: Urine drug testing necessitates access to suitable and private toilet facilities where individuals can provide urine specimens. In some settings, ensuring the availability of these facilities can be challenging, especially in remote or mobile testing scenarios.

Urine Drug Testing Detection Times in Australia

The detection times for drugs in urine can vary depending on several factors, including the specific drug, the frequency of use, and an individual’s metabolism. In Australia, here are approximate detection times for some commonly tested drugs:

  • Amphetamine Type Substances (methamphetamine, amphetamine, MDMA, MDA): 2 – 4 days
  • Benzodiazepines: 7 days – 3 weeks
  • Cannabis: 3 – 14 days (30 – 40 days with obesity)
  • Cocaine: 3 – 5 days
  • Opiates (heroin, morphine, codeine): 3 days

Urine Drug Testing Procedures in Australia

In most cases, employees in Australia undergo urine drug tests at their workplace under the supervision of qualified Drug and Alcohol Collectors. However, in some instances, employees may be required to visit a testing clinic.

During the test, a Collector will provide the patient with a specimen cup and instructions for proper specimen collection, which involves capturing mid-stream urine. The specimen is then handed over to the Collector for labelling and processing.

The actual drug testing occurs in the laboratory. To ensure the reliability of a urine drug test, lab technicians must maintain a strict chain of custody, meticulously documenting the handling and storage of the urine specimen until disposal. If the initial test results are positive, additional tests are conducted to confirm the outcome. For a definitive result, both tests must match.

Safework Health’s Urine Screening Services

Safework Health has over 100 certified Collectors across Australia who can perform an instant urine drug test on-site at your workplace or at one of our clinics.

We also offer a range of urine drug test kits that conform with Australian and New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 4308:2008.

Contact us today to learn more.

The High Stakes: Is Your Workplace Complying with Industrial Manslaughter Laws?

Explore the impact of industrial manslaughter laws on workplace drug and alcohol management.

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In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of workplace safety and the need to hold individuals and companies accountable for their actions.

This has led to the introduction of industrial manslaughter laws in various parts of Australia, including South Australia. These laws aim to ensure that those who are reckless or grossly negligent in breaching work health and safety duties and causing the death of another person face severe consequences.

Under the new laws in South Australia, individuals can face up to 20 years’ imprisonment, while companies can be fined up to $18 million if they are found guilty of industrial manslaughter.

New Laws Spotlight Workplace Drug and Alcohol Management

With the introduction of the new laws, there is increased attention on the management of drugs and alcohol in the workplace.

Employers must have comprehensive plans in place to manage these substances effectively. This includes implementing drug and alcohol policies and procedures, providing education and training on the dangers of substance abuse, and conducting regular drug and alcohol testing.

The Importance of Drug and Alcohol Policies and Procedures

One of the key aspects of managing drugs and alcohol in the workplace is having robust policies and procedures in place. These policies should outline the expectations and responsibilities of both the employer and employees regarding substance abuse. They should clearly state the consequences of violating the policy and provide guidelines for reporting any concerns related to drug or alcohol use.

By having clear policies and procedures, employers can establish a safe and healthy work environment. It ensures that all employees are aware of the rules regarding drugs and alcohol and understand the potential risks associated with their use.

Providing Education and Training on the Dangers of Substance Abuse

Education and training play a crucial role in creating awareness about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace. Employers should provide comprehensive training programs that highlight the potential risks, the impact on job performance and safety, and the legal implications of substance abuse.

Through education and training, employees gain a better understanding of the consequences of their actions and are more likely to make informed decisions regarding drug and alcohol use. It also helps to reduce stigma and encourages individuals to seek help if they are struggling with addiction.

The Role of Drug and Alcohol Testing

One of the most effective ways to ensure workplace safety and compliance with drug and alcohol policies is through regular testing. Drug and alcohol testing can help identify individuals who may be under the influence while on the job, reducing the risk of accidents, injuries, or fatalities.

There are various methods of drug and alcohol testing, including urine, oral fluid, hair and breathalyser tests. Each method has its advantages and limitations, and employers should choose the most appropriate method based on their specific needs and requirements.

By implementing regular drug and alcohol testing, employers send a strong message that the use of drugs and alcohol in the workplace is unacceptable. It acts as a deterrent and helps maintain a safe and productive work environment for all employees.

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Ask us how we can help your workplace comply with industrial manslaughter laws and ensure a safe and productive work environment.

Complete guide for drug and alcohol testing in the workplace

Ensuring a safe, secure, and productive work environment goes beyond simply having a policy and procedure prohibiting substance misuse.

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Ensuring a safe, secure, and productive work environment goes beyond simply having a policy and procedure prohibiting substance misuse — it requires accurate, reliable, and timely measures to detect potential violations of your company’s policies. This is where drug and alcohol testing in the workplace comes in.

While regulations vary from state to state, this guide will provide comprehensive steps on what you can do to implement drug and alcohol testing procedures that are efficient, cost-effective, and compliant with any existing labour laws.

What is drug and alcohol testing in the workplace and why do employers conduct it?

Drug and alcohol testing is becoming increasingly commonplace in workplaces across Australia. This process involves examining various biological specimens of a human being to identify the potential presence of alcohol or drugs within an individual’s system. The specimens used in this testing can include urine, oral fluid (saliva), breath, hair follicle and blood.

Generally, drug test results help protect everyone involved, making it an essential part of any company’s health-related policies. For instance, it can provide insight into employee health issues, identify medical fitness risks, differentiate potential candidates, maintain a safe and productive working environment, and meet government regulations.

Additionally, drug and alcohol tests are often necessary for jobs in highly regulated industries where drugs or alcohol could potentially cause a threat to public safety.

When is workplace drug and alcohol testing needed?

Workplace drug and alcohol testing is typically needed in several scenarios, primarily to ensure safety and productivity.

It is commonly implemented in the following instances:

  1. Pre-employment drug and alcohol testing — Conducted before an individual’s start date and aims to evaluate the employee’s suitability for the role.
  2. Blanket screening — Allows managers to test all employees during any given event, while ‘For Cause’ or targeted testing helps organisations identify potential drug/alcohol misuse before it becomes an issue.
  3. Return to work drug testing — Used to assess if an employee is suitable to resume their duties following a leave of absence due to professional or personal reasons.
  4. Call-out/accident/incident assessments — This ensures that those at accident sites take responsibility for their actions and comply with regulations. Screenings help identify substances that could result in lingering imparity and impaired reaction speed — representing a particular risk of injury on site.

Types of drug & alcohol tests

Drug and alcohol testing within the workplace can be done in several ways. Here are four of the most common methods:

  • Urine drug testing — A simple, cost-effective method that provides clear drug detection results with reliable accuracy. It is also one of employers’ most used drug testing services.
  • Oral fluid drug testing — Less invasive than other methods, yet it still manages to analyse substances accurately.
  • Hair follicle drug testing — Highly accurate method, although more expensive due to its complexity. However, its extended period for detection makes up for the cost.
  • Breath alcohol testing — Breathalysers deliver almost instant results. This method is also non-invasive and highly accurate.

When should employers worry about their employees misusing substances at the workplace?

Awareness of the signs of substance misuse is crucial for employers — these symptoms can impact the organisation’s overall productivity. Some things to watch out for include changes in behaviour or personal hygiene, theft, violence and inconsistency with work. In particular, some behavioural changes to watch out for include:

  • Sudden disinterest in work — If you notice that an employee who was once productive starts to become less reliable in deliverables or is not consistent in their work quality, and there seems to be no apparent improvement over time.
  • Difficulty holding conversations — Proper communication has become difficult for the employee. Signs include trembling as they respond to conversations, difficulty maintaining eye contact and inability to articulate and answer questions well.
  • Making excuses for poor work — When you notice your employee’s work habits have changed, such as constantly turning up late at work and sleeping during shifts.

However, it’s important to note that unexplained behavioural changes are not always caused by alcohol or drug use. It may be that an employee is facing challenges in their personal life, which is why it’s always essential to handle these instances with care and avoid a targeted approach.

What to do if you suspect substance misuse in the workplace

If you suspect a co-worker is misusing drugs and alcohol in workplace, it is important to take action within your organisation. It is essential to consider both the safety of your co-worker and the safety and productivity of everyone around them. First, sit down with the individual and voice your concern in a professional but supportive way.

If this does not yield satisfactory results, it may be necessary to involve Human Resources or other relevant departments to devise an appropriate course of action. Keep in mind that taking action at this early stage can do wonders for preventing any further complications — financial or otherwise.

What resources are available to employers who want to learn more about drug and alcohol testing in the workplace?

Drug and alcohol testing at work has become an increasingly popular tool for employers to ensure safety, responsibility and strong job performance.

Resources to help employers learn more about these tests are widely available. For example, our knowledge base section offers drug fact sheets and and blogs on related topics, such as testing guidelines and procedure information. This can help employers create a workplace drug and alcohol policy and procedure that maintains compliance with relevant local and national regulations.

The most up-to-date information on workplace drug and alcohol testing can make all the difference for employers looking for effective ways to minimise risk and promote workplace safety.

Get drug and alcohol testing that reaps results with Safework Health

Safework Health offers reliable drug and alcohol testing services tailored for employers committed to fostering a safe workplace environment.

With NATA accreditation and over 12 years of industry experience, we provide practical and cost-effective solutions to Australian workplaces. Our services encompass onsite and in-clinic testing, laboratory analysis, policy development and review, as well as training and education programs.

Get in touch today to discover how we can assist you in implementing a reliable workplace drug and alcohol testing program.

Drug & Alcohol Testing: What Employers Need To Know

Learn how workplace drug and alcohol testing and a drug and alcohol policy can keep your workers safe.

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Drug and alcohol testing is standard practice in many workplaces, and in some industries regular testing is legislated. Before implementing a workplace drug and alcohol testing program, employers should develop a written drug and alcohol policy and procedure for all employees.

The policy should be developed in consultation with employees, including HSE and/or unions to ensure buy in and ownership and provide a work environment free from drugs or alcohol use, which can lead to accidents or injuries on the job site. Employers should be aware of the different types of drug and alcohol testing, which include:

  • Pre-employment drug and alcohol testing in Australia is a good way to understand the lifestyle of someone you are considering employing.  
  • Random drug and alcohol testing is the most effective way to deter drug and alcohol use at any time, including during work hours. Timing should cover all shifts over all working days.
  • Reasonable suspicion (for cause) testing is a drug and alcohol testing practice that is utilised when an employer reasonably believes  a worker is under the influence of drugs or alcohol at work.
  • Return to work testing (RTW) is the process of conducting drug and alcohol testing on employees returning from an absence due to a positive test result. The worker needs to test negative before being allowed back at work.
  • Post-incident testing is a type of testing that occurs after an employee has been involved in an alcohol or drug incident.

Safework Health provides reliable and accredited solutions for your workplace alcohol and drug testing needs. For more information about our services, feel free to reach out to us, and we will be more than happy to help you.

Drug testing and the Australian law

Drug and alcohol testing is legal in Australia and falls under the Work Health and Safety legislation (OHS in Victoria). Hence, companies implementing drug and alcohol testing programs are not uncommon, especially in industries like mining, aviation, construction, warehousing and transport. In these jobs, executing work under the influence of drugs and alcohol may risk the life of the workers and the people around them.

Employers can test their workers for drugs and/or alcohol whilst at work provided the reasons are justified, such as health concerns, workplace safety, productivity improvement, and employee integrity and the company has a drug and alcohol policy and procedure in place.

Apart from identifying the reasons behind a drug test, a company needs to determine the types of drug tests they will require, how the results will be used and their response to a positive test result. All of this should be clear in the company’s drug and alcohol policy and procedure.

Drug and alcohol testing Standards in Australia

Australian Standards exist for saliva testing, urine testing and the manufacture of alcohol breathalysers. The oral fluid (saliva) and urine Standards provide guidelines on best practice to perform onsite and laboratory testing and includes specific drug classes. It also covers the different drug testing procedures one can undergo, which include:

  • Workplace alcohol tests are performed using a breathalyser accredited to AS 3547:2019. Results are usually available within minutes and the Standard requires regular calibration of equipment.
  • Onsite and laboratory drug test results will show what drugs are present in your system at that moment, but it doesn’t determine how much you ingested or when you took them.

If you are unsure how to implement a workplace drug and alcohol policy, please contact Safework Health today.

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