Can you pass an alcohol test but still be unsafe?


You’re heading to work after a late night out, drinking with the boys at the local hotel while watching footy. You’re feeling a bit seedy but you can’t afford any more sick days, so you’re trying to do the right thing by soldering on. But are you? Would you pass an alcohol test and, even if you did, would you be safe to drive or work?

Would you pass an alcohol test?

As we’ve highlighted before in this blog, scientifically it is possible to determine whether you would pass an alcohol test. Let’s recap:

  • It takes around one hour to process one standard alcoholic drink.
  • One standard drink will increase your blood alcohol level to about 0.015.
  • So, if you drink a little over 3 standard drinks in an hour you’re likely to be close to the 0.05 limit.
  • Once your blood alcohol level is 0.05, it will take over 3 hours for your body to process the alcohol, to the point where you will be close to zero again.

Remember, however, that this is for an average person and doesn’t take into account individual factors, such as sex, health and whether you’ve eaten. It also requires you to count your standard drinks. That’s not a pot or a glass of wine, that’s a standard drink or 10 grams of alcohol – around 300mls of full-strength beer or 100mls of wine.

If you pass an alcohol test are you safe to drive and work?

With enough time, you may pass an alcohol test after a big night out, but does that mean you’re safe to drive and work?

Most of us know the feeling after a night out when we’ve consumed a lot of alcohol. It’s commonly called a hangover and it can leave you feeling tired, irritable, dizzy, nauseous and thirsty. It can also reduce concentration levels and your vision. All in all, not good symptoms when you need to get behind the wheel or work in an environment where safety is important.

As well as safety, there’s also your health to consider. Having a hangover can leave your more vulnerable to heat stroke, dehydration and other health conditions. This is particularly the case if you have a manual job, will be working outside on a warm, sunny day or work in hot conditions.

So, what should you do?

Of course it depends on a range of factors, such as how much you drank, how long since you stopped drinking and how bad your symptoms are. But you can help yourself by getting a good sleep, drinking plenty of water, eating nutritious food and performing some light exercise or relaxation techniques.

In some cases, it will be safer to not get behind the wheel and not go to work. After all, another day off work won’t kill you, but going to work might!

Can you pass an alcohol test and still be unsafe to work or drive?


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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