Let’s talk about workplace drug testing

Workplace drug testing mightn’t make good dinner conversation, but it plays an important role in keeping workers safe.

Integrity Sampling earns its living from helping clients throughout Australia with workplace drug and alcohol management services. We’ve been doing it since 2001. Drug and alcohol management – which includes drug testing and alcohol testing – is our sole business and we are experts at what we do.

However, that doesn’t mean we are immune from some of the criticism or that we think everyone loves what we do. We understand that while alcohol testing is relatively accepted – thanks largely to the incredible work done by police forces in Australia and others over the past decades – for some people drug testing is a controversial subject. So, when an article from Australian Mining’s Safe to Work came across our desk, outlining the ‘Advantages and disadvantages of drug testing in the workplace’, we thought it would be good to share it.

Here are the key points raised by the article about the advantages and disadvantages of drug testing in the workplace:

  • Perhaps the biggest advantage of workplace drug testing is that it helps to ensure a workplace is safe. That’s because anyone who is under the influence of drugs in the workplace is a potential safety risk to themselves and others.
  • The risk, of course, is particularly true in industries where there is a higher safety risk, for example where there is heavy machinery and people are handling hazardous chemicals or driving vehicles.
  • One study estimates that between 20 and 25 per cent of all workplace injuries are the result of alcohol or drug use. Another study estimates that five per cent of workplace deaths and up to 11 per cent of non-fatal injuries are caused by alcohol use.
  • Drug and alcohol use is estimated to contribute around $5.2 billion in lost productivity in Australia each year. In addition, the cost in absenteeism is around $3 billion.
  • Workplace drug testing can boost productivity and improve employee morale.
  • The major disadvantages with drug testing come about when it’s handled poorly. For example:
    • Workplace drug testing should only be carried out for safety reasons. In industries such as construction, road, rail, transportation, aviation and mining, safety is critical and therefore drug testing is justified and often required.
    • Managing alcohol and drugs well isn’t a matter of simply having a blanket ban from the workplace or a zero tolerance. It needs to be managed well, starting with a robust drug and alcohol policy that is clear, comprehensive and effective, and is communicated to everyone in the workplace.
    • Drug testing should never be the only tool used to manage drugs in the workplace. A broad management plan that includes aspects such as policy, education and support also need to be in place.

Workplace drug testing integrity

In addition, it’s vital that everyone has confidence in the workplace drug testing that your business implements. A key to this is having testing providers that are competent and qualified to deliver the service, using equipment that is verified to comply with the requirements of the Australian Standards. Integrity Sampling ticks the boxes for all this and more, making us the only workplace drug testing provider you should call on.

Call Integrity Sampling now on 1300 SALIVA to find out more.


Workplace drug testing mightn’t make good dinner conversation, but it plays an important role in keeping workers safe. Credit NCDOTcommunications  https://www.flickr.com/photos/ncdot/16717121772/

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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