Workplace drug testing laws

“Can we legally introduce drug and alcohol testing in our workplace?”

One of the questions we regularly get asked at Integrity Sampling is about workplace drug testing laws. It’s understandable that some workplaces are concerned that there might be laws relating to drug testing that they don’t know about, or they worry that if they introduce workplace drug testing they may get their workers offside.

Australian workplace drug testing laws

Can a business in Australia legally conduct drug testing? The simple answer is yes, however, there is a proviso and that is that your workplace needs to be one where safety is a priority. Think mining, construction, transportation, manufacturing, warehousing, aviation, agriculture, etc., etc.

Conducting drug testing, and alcohol testing for that matter, is simply a way of responsibly managing safety risks in the workplace and if your employees have roles where their safety is important you can certainly legally conduct drug and alcohol testing in your workplace. In fact, it could be argued that if you don’t conduct drug testing in workplace where safety is critical you could breach laws because you aren’t ensuring a safe workplace for your employees.

How will my employees react to workplace drug testing?

As mentioned in the introduction, some workplaces are also concerned that they might get workers offside by introducing drug testing. It’s a common concern but in practice is a misconception.

Having a safe workplace is obviously important for employees, too, so as long as you educate them about what you are going to do and why. In fact, involve them or at least consult with them in the process of developing the policies and procedures surrounding drug testing. In this way, employees will be confident in the procedures, including the accuracy of testing and the steps taken for positive results, and they’ll more likely support workplace drug testing as an important part of the safety program.

Drug and alcohol policy and procedures

We touched on it above and it’s worth looking at in more detail, and that’s the importance of developing policies and procedures. This should include policies about workplace drug testing as well as drugs and alcohol in general.

Having detailed and robust policies is critical and, when it comes to the law, is one area that workplaces can come unstuck. There have been several cases where courts have overturned decisions by employers, including terminations of employment, because employers have not had adequately detailed policies and procedures or had deviated from their policies and procedures.

Let Integrity Sampling help

Introducing drug testing and developing drug and alcohol policies and procedures can be intimidating, so let Integrity Sampling assist. We can help with all aspects of drug and alcohol management, including development of drug and alcohol policies and procedures specific to your workplace, education of employees and conducting drug and alcohol testing.


“Can we legally introduce drug and alcohol testing in our workplace?” Credit Andrey Belenko

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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