Urine drug testing Queensland a Fair Work decision

Still using urine drug testing for your Queensland workplace?

When it comes to conducting workplace drug testing, while urine drug testing in Queensland has historically been more widely used, we reckon saliva drug testing wins hands down.

While there are several valid reasons why we believe saliva drug testing is better than urine drug testing for your Queensland workplace (and you can read about these reasons on our Workplace Drug Testing page), we should qualify this by saying that Integrity Sampling pioneered saliva drug testing in Australia. It could therefore be argued (particularly by proponents of urine drug testing) that we’re biased, but it’s fair to say we’re not alone in believing that saliva testing is better than urine drug testing.

Fair Work Australia says urine drug testing unjust

One organisation to agree with us is Fair Work Australia (FWA). In particular, in a case involving Endeavour Energy and the Communications Union or CEPU, FWA said that making employees submit to urine drug testing was “unjust and unreasonable”.

They concluded that the appropriate method of drug testing should be through oral fluid and that the testing was to be done in accordance with Australian Standards of the time, governing procedures for specimen collection and the detection and quantitation of drugs in oral fluid.

One of the key reasons for the conclusion was the longer period that drugs can be detected using urine drug testing methods.

“Seen from one perspective, urine testing can be seen as more ‘accurate’ in that it is more likely to pick up whether an employee has at some stage taken certain substances. However, that is not necessarily the goal of a workplace drug testing regime.

“Neither party in this dispute sought to argue that random testing for drugs (or alcohol) was unjust or unreasonable. However both parties also recognise that random testing is an intrusion on the privacy of the individual which can only be justified on health and safety grounds. The employer has a legitimate right (and indeed obligation) to try and eliminate the risk that employees might come to work impaired by drugs or alcohol such that they could pose a risk to health or safety. Beyond that the employer has no right to dictate what drugs or alcohol its employees take in their own time. Indeed, it would be unjust and unreasonable to do so.”

Fair enough, we believe, which is one of the reasons we agree that urine drug testing in Queensland is somewhat antiquated and not the preferred method.

I hear you, but I still want to use urine drug testing for my Queensland business

While we and others believe that saliva drug testing is better for your Queensland business than urine drug testing, if you’d prefer to undertake urine testing for your particular Queensland workplace, that’s fine. We do undertake urine drug testing for some Queensland businesses and we’re happy to use this method for your workplace. The decision is yours.

Integrity Sampling conducts saliva and urine drug testing in Queensland and we can help with all other drug and alcohol management services. This includes alcohol testing, drug and alcohol management and policy development, and drug and alcohol education for your employees. To discuss your needs, give us a call on 1300 SALIVA (1300 725 482).

Note: You can read more about the urine drug testing case on the Fair Work Commission website.


Still using urine drug testing for your Queensland workplace? We reckon it’s a somewhat antiquated method (a bit like black and white photos of old sugar mills!) and it’s time to upgrade to saliva drug testing. Credit Queensland State Archives  https://www.flickr.com/photos/queenslandstatearchives/42380131840/ (image modified)

By John

John is the Queensland Manager of Integrity Sampling QLD and is based in the Brisbane office. Integrity Sampling provides its range of drug and alcohol management services, including drug and alcohol testing, right across the state. You can connect with John Lorenzen on LinkedIn

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