Why should I drug test my employees?
It is a workplace obligation under WH&S Act 2011 (OHS Act 2004 in Victoria) to take reasonable steps to ensure safety in a workplace.
Your company has a duty of care to anticipate and address any potential threats to health and safety at work. Misusing drugs and/or alcohol means individuals may endanger their health and safety and that of their colleagues.
In addition, drug and alcohol testing can enable you to identify problem workers early, increase productivity, reduce employee turnover and recruitment costs, and reduce worker’s compensation claims, saving you time and money.
Find out more about the benefits of drug testing in the workplace.
Why should I have a drug and alcohol policy and procedure?
A drug and alcohol policy and procedure is crucial for maintaining the health and safety of your employees and business. It educates and sets expectations for employees and supports the company in complying with WHS/OHS legislation.
Discover how we can help you develop and implement a drug and alcohol policy and procedure for your workplace.
When can I test my employees for drugs and alcohol?
A company can test employees as described in the company’s drug and alcohol policy. Many companies utilise pre-employment, random, blanket, post-incident and reasonable cause drug and alcohol testing. All testing (except pre-employment) can be without notice, which means employees are unaware of when the testing will occur. Educating your workers about the type of testing allowed in your drug and alcohol policy is essential. Testing may occur any time, including after an incident or accident at work or randomly.
How do you perform drug and alcohol testing?
Our qualified and experienced team of Collectors perform the sample collections for drug and alcohol testing at your workplace. Our Collectors have been recruited to be professional yet sensitive to the needs of your staff and company.
Our team completes quality controls under AS/NZS 4308:2008 and AS/NZS 4760:2019, as well as standard integrity and temperature checks.
Drug screening samples that require further testing (non-negatives) after screening are packaged and couriered to one of our NATA-accredited laboratories across Australia.
Learn more about our drug and alcohol testing procedures.
Where do you screen for drugs and alcohol?
Safework Health can perform drug and alcohol testing onsite at your workplace or in our offices located across Australia.
Screening is conducted discretely, maintaining privacy and confidentiality in a dedicated room at your workplace. Where available, we have mobile clinics (vans) that can come to your workplace to perform drug testing.
We also offer a “collect and send” service, where no onsite screening is performed. Instead, we collect the urine or oral fluid sample, package it according to Australian Standards, and send the samples to our NATA-accredited laboratories.
Learn more about where we conduct drug and alcohol screening.
What happens if an employee tests positive for drugs or alcohol?
Safework Health Collectors alert the site contact as soon as they know a non-negative onsite screening result. Then, we package the sample according to Australian Standards and send it to our toxicology laboratories for confirmatory testing.
The site contact is responsible for managing the worker following your company’s drug and alcohol policy and procedure. It is crucial a comprehensive drug and alcohol testing policy and procedure is in place so managers and team leaders can follow the steps and manage the worker accordingly.
Discover how we can help you develop a drug and alcohol policy and procedure for your workplace.
What type of drug and alcohol testing services do you provide?
What drug and alcohol testing methods do you use?
What drugs do you test for?
The Australian Standards prescribe the drugs we can test for. Plus, we are only permitted to conduct drug testing in accordance with the specific guidelines outlined in the company’s drug and alcohol policy and procedure.
The drugs we can test for include:
• Amphetamine (speed)
• Benzodiazepine (sleeping tablets, relaxants)
• Cannabis (marijuana, THC)
• Methamphetamine (ecstasy, ice)
• Opiates (heroin)
• Oxycodone and fentanyl
• Synthetic and designer drugs
Why are pre employment medical tests important?
A pre employment medical assessment is an essential part of a successful recruitment process. Employers are responsible for ensuring candidates are physically and medically fit to undertake the tasks required of the role so they can maintain a safe working environment.
What is involved in a pre employment medical assessment?
Components of a pre employment medical may include but are not limited to:
• Occupational and Medical History Questionnaire
• Drug Screening to Australian Standards
• Audiometry Screening
• Vision (including colour vision) Assessment
• Functional Capacity Evaluation
• Musculoskeletal Assessment
• 12 Lead Passive ECG
• Diabetes Testing (fasting glucose)
• Pathology Blood Testing (total lipids profile, HbA1C, fasting glucose)
Find out more about our pre employment medical services.
How long do drugs and alcohol stay in your system?
Depending on the person, including (but not limited to) height, weight, sex, the type of drug and how it was taken, the length of time a drug can remain in your system varies greatly.
If using an oral fluid device to detect drugs, the detection window is measured in hours, typically 4 – 24 hours. In most cases, drugs can be detected in urine between 48 – 72 hours. For long-term use of cannabis, THC can be detected up to several months at the time of the test.
Hair testing will detect repeated use over a period typically measured in months. A standard test covers 3 months. One centimetre of hair detects about one month of drug use.
Breath alcohol will typically provide a positive result for hours, depending on the intake volume and timeframe.
Can my employer force me to take a drug and alcohol test?
Drug and alcohol screening is legal. However, you still need to consent for the sample to be taken and for results to be provided to your employer.
Can I refuse a drug and alcohol test?
Check your company’s drug and alcohol policy about what may happen if you refuse a drug and alcohol test. For example, many companies consider a refusal to undergo a drug and alcohol test a positive test, resulting in relevant disciplinary action.
Will prescription or over-the-counter drugs show up in the test?
It depends very much on the medication you are taking. For instance, codeine can cause a non-negative screening result for opiates (the class of drugs that includes heroin). However, all non-negative screening results are transported to our toxicology laboratories for confirmation. Any medication you are taking, including vitamins and supplements, should be declared at the time of the test. Our scientists can determine if the laboratory result is consistent with your declared medication.