Australian workplace drug testing laws are on your side


If your business is thinking about introducing workplace drug and alcohol testing, you may be worried about any relevant Australian workplace drug testing laws. Are there laws relating to drug testing that you need to follow, what’s involved and what do you need to do to ensure you are covered?

Australian workplace drug testing laws

The question of whether an employer can conduct drug and alcohol testing isn’t as simple as a yes or no answer.

Firstly, conducting drug and alcohol testing is one way of responsibly managing safety risks in the workplace. So, if your business is in mining, construction, transportation, manufacturing and the like, or your employees work in safety critical roles, you can certainly legally conduct drug and alcohol testing in your workplace.

More to the point, if your workplace doesn’t conduct drug and alcohol testing you could be exposing yourself to falling foul of the law. Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. So, if your business isn’t taking adequate measures to ensure employees aren’t coming to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it could certainly be argued that you’re not doing enough. Imagine then, the consequences of a major accident, injury or fatality where drugs or alcohol were involved?

It’s important to highlight that there are already Australian workplace drug testing laws that make drug and alcohol policies, as well as regular drug and alcohol testing, mandatory. Since 2015, building contractors covered by the Building Code 2013 and working on building sites financed by federal dollars have been required to undergo regular drug and alcohol testing.

Drug and alcohol policy and procedures

As well as having a workplace where safety is critical, no business should introduce drug and alcohol testing without having a drug and alcohol policy, and robust drug and alcohol procedures in place. The policy and procedures will provide details such as:

  • The responsibilities of management and employees
  • What type of testing you’ll carry out and how often
  • The process for when an employee provides a positive drug or alcohol test
  • Discipline that the employee will face if the positive test is confirmed
  • Support available for employees
  • The education you provide employees

This last point is not only an important part of your procedures but is vital in keeping your employees on side. Remember, having a safe workplace is not just imperative for your business, it’s vital for employees. So, as long as their educated about how and why you are conducting testing, as well as the dangers of mixing drugs or alcohol and work, they’ll likely support your endeavours to make the workplace safer.

Let Integrity Sampling help

Introducing a drug and alcohol policy, procedures and testing can be daunting, so let Integrity Sampling help. We can assist throughout the entire process, including development of a drug and alcohol policy and procedures specific to your workplace, education of employees and of course carrying out drug and alcohol testing.

Australian workplace drug testing laws are on your side if you’re thinking of introducing drug and alcohol testing in a workplace where safety is critical.

By Michael

Michael is the founder of Integrity Sampling and is responsible for overseeing all national operations. He is based at Integrity Sampling's head office in Melbourne and is also responsible for the co-ordination of drug and alcohol testing within Victoria, assisting in the implementation of drug and alcohol (fit for work) policies and the presentation of drug and alcohol education and awareness programs. You can connect with Michael Wheeldon on LinkedIn

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