Employee Drug Testing
We believe that the objective of conducting workplace drug & alcohol testing is to encourage responsbile self management and change behaviour, rather than a "witch hunt" for positive results.
To enourage people to modify their drug and alcohol consumption to reduce the impact on their own safety and that of others there are three fundamental aspects to an effective program;
- Policy Development
- Staff Education and
- Compliant Testing
We can assist you in all of these areas or just one component if you prefer.
turnkey service - just get us up and running
Our premium turnkey service provides you with assistance in all of the areas mentioned on this page and is designed to help organisations to implement a program in the most efficient and effective manner and with the least fuss. In addition to all of the aspects mentioned here, our turnkey service also assistance with staff consultation and employee group discussions. If this sounds like the solution you're looking for - contact us now.
policy development phase
A Fitness for Duty Policy (sometimes called a "Workplace Drug & Alcohol Policy" or a variety of other titles) is extremely important if you intend to conduct drug & alcohol testing in your organisation. Regardless of the name of the policy/ procedure it should;
- explain what it is you are attempting to accomplish (for example to improve safety and or to meet a legislative requirement).
- serve to explain the testing procedures (including any ramifications to staff)
- act as a guide for supervisors and all other employees (what happens in the event of .....refusal to test/ confirmed positive result etc).
- clearly explain all aspects of the testing process in clear and unambiguous detail
- be developed in consultation with Staff
- be operationally, legally and scientifically feasible.
Although alcohol testing is typically performed using a breath alcohol testing unit, there are two primary methods for performing drug testing/ screening on-site; urine testing or saliva testing. The selection of the type of drug test performed has become an important part of policy development because it can involve opinions from various stakeholders and involves quite different treatment in a policy (for example the cut-off levels for both screening and confirmation testing are very different in saliva than in urine).
Preparing a policy in this field from the “ground up” can be an onerous task. We frequently review existing policies and our experience is that many of these contain simple errors and mistakes, made by organisations both large and small . A legal challenge might focus heavily upon the written policies and procedures adopted; accordingly this aspect should be given considerable attention.
Some common mistakes include:
- Incorrect cut-off levels - for example 50 ng/mL (or mg/L) is NOT the confirmatory cut-off level for Cannabis, this is the screening level. We estimate that at least 30% of Policies in Australia reference incorrect cut-off levels.
- incongruent terminology for example references to "zero tolerance", "impairment" or "under the influence" are likely to seriously compromise a program facing a legal challenge.
- implementing an "instant dismissal" approach. Industrial Commissions tend to be intolerant of Policies that do not include opportunities for rehabilitation (allowing at least 3 confirmed positive results prior to dismissal).
- failing to accommodate legitimate pharmaceuticals - a small number of pharmaceuticals can produce positive results. Organisations that fail to accommodate individuals taking legitimate pharmaceuticals as prescribed would most likely be deemed to have applied harsh, unfair and unjust treatment.
We can assist your organisation in developing a “Drug and Alcohol Policy” designed to be as accurate and detailed as possible, whilst achieving the underlying objective of changing people’s behaviour in the interests of workplace safety.
An effective policy should include procedures for the method of testing to be used, training and education for employees, communication of results and appropriate actions (including employee assistance) in the event that an employee is found positive for presence of drugs and alcohol and medications.
education - communication phase
Many Industrial Relations cases relating to drug & alcohol testing appear to focus on the communication of the policy and program to staff normally. The method of staff communication that we promote focuses on the testing methods used, privacy protection measures and addresses many of the myths of Drug & Alcohol testing.
We can provide Instructors, educational aids (digital projectors etc where required), PowerPoint presentations and Questionnaires to assist in this process.
We have a variety of presentation templates that can be delivered to staff as part of initial program awareness. Our training division; the "Drug and Alcohol Testing Institute" is also very proud to have attained accreditation as a Registered Training Organisation where we deliver VQF compliant training in our own Nationally Accredited Training Course as required by AS/NZS;4308:2008 and AS;4760:2006. This course is fully customisable to address specific industry needs.
Following the introduction of the program it is important that all testing follows the procedure stated in the Policy. We are able to provide consistent and professional testing by trained personnel for your program on a Nation Wide Basis. This testing can include the immediate reporting of screening results to assist in establishing employee fitness for work. The Australian Standards: AS/NZS 4308:2008 and AS 4760:2006, contains specifications for recommended collection and laboratory testing procedures and we can manage the reporting of these results for our clientele.
We also provide all testing equipment and consumables required to conduct our works.
A good drug & alcohol testing program should be:
- Accurate - The process should not falsely accuse innocent people or return negative results for staff who should actually return positive results. For this reason screening results must not be interpreted as a final result - A laboratory result is the most important result in the testing process.
- Tried and tested – it is important that the chosen testing method is an accepted and reliable method of testing. To this end the testing process needs to be sound and should be capable of being supported by experts in the field.
- Operationally Efficient – the testing program must be fast (in order to ensure that staff can complete the testing program quickly).
- Private - the testing program should have clear systems and procedures in place designed to protect individual privacy.
Our drug & alcohol testing service is designed to meet all of the above requirements. A program can be further supplemented by providing staff with self-testing equipment for responsible self management.
drug & alcohol testing equipment for self-testing
We assist Customers to encourage their staff to self-manage drug and alcohol usage through the provision of self-testing equipment (individually wrapped self-testing kits).
To this end we have a variety of simple test kits that can be provided to staff in order that they can test themselves in the event that they are concerned about their capacity to pass a workplace test. These facilities can be evaluated on a number of levels:
- The self testing kits help build awareness in Employees
- Staff can learn to responsibly self-manage any drug or alcohol usage in a manner which should not compromise workplace safety.
- The testing kits can be accessed confidentially through having a nominated employee representative tasked with obtaining the kits from a central store.
- The kits are relatively inexpensive and are vastly more cost effective than managing accidents or breakages resulting from errant behaviour by intoxicated (or "at risk") staff.
reporting and record services
Why be left wondering....:
- Who have we been testing?
- What were the results?
- What % of results have been positive?
- What is the breakdown of our positive results?
- How does this compare to our industry average?
- What is the breakdown of results by our job function in our company?
- What is the breakdown of results for our contractors?
- How does this compare with our other branches/ states/ national performance?
- What is the national performance of our program?
Regular and periodical statistical reporting are a normal part of our service.
customisable secure reporting
- Electronic, password protected reports and basic statistical analysis following every testing session conducted (automatically conducted for every testing session).
- Detailed statistical analysis of historical testing records including pie-chart analysis of drug positive results and histogram analysis by employee, contractor or manager and classified by location, branch, region and overall results.
- These reports are an invaluable tool for evaluating the success of a program and for identifying problem areas requiring additional attention (in the form of increased vigilance or more intensive education programs.
- Or we can customise a report to suit your requirements.
why store your own records?
- We manage the secure record archiving of your test and lab result records for you for up to 7 Years in a secure, accredited facility.
- Why risk having unauthorised staff access test records held in a personnel file?