Drugs and alcohol in Western Australian workplaces

Drug testing in Western Australia in the workplace can save lives.

Management vital, but should you include drug testing?

Managing drugs and alcohol in any business is not only commonplace, it’s practically mandatory, and that’s certainly no different in Western Australia. But does managing drugs and alcohol in Western Australia mean you should conduct drug testing?

Drug and alcohol management in Western Australia

WorkSafe Western Australia has some excellent resources on managing drugs and alcohol in your workplace, including a section on frequently asked questions. Let’s take a look at some of the questions in this section and summarise the key points:

  • There are a number of reasons why you should have a policy on drugs and alcohol for your workplace. These include:
    • You can breach your general duty of care to provide a safe workplace if there is an injury as a result of alcohol or drug use.
    • Having a policy demonstrates your commitment to a safe and healthy workplace.
    • Having a clearly defined policy and supporting procedures will assist you to safety manage drugs and alcohol in your workplace.
    • Having a policy in place will help to keep employees and others informed about acceptable behaviour around drugs and alcohol.
  • What do you do if you think a worker is affected by drugs or alcohol? Certainly don’t walk away, as it’s your obligation to make sure the person affected and others aren’t put at risk. If you have a drugs and alcohol policy, follow the procedures. If you don’t have a policy, take appropriate action, which may include making sure the person gets home safely.
  • How should you approach someone who you think may be affected by drugs or alcohol in the workplace? Remember, firstly, that it might not be drugs or alcohol, but some other reason. So don’t accuse anyone of being drunk or drugged. Remember, too, that your concern is about safety, so be brief, firm and calm, don’t argue and simply ask the person to stop work to make sure they are safe.

Drug testing in Western Australia

Should your management of drugs and alcohol in your workplace in Western Australia include drug testing? It’s a simple question but there’s not always a simple answer, as you need to weigh up the costs and potential benefits.

One of the prime determining factors is simple, however, and that is your decision should be based around safety. While drug testing in some countries, particularly the United States, is conducted across the board and for all types of job roles, in Western Australia and Australia drug testing should only be implemented in industries and for roles where safety is important. Or, in other words, where drug testing in your Western Australian workplace will help to provide a safer workplace, free from hazards.

While there is some industry-specific legislation in Western Australia that deals with drug testing, there are no provisions in the Occupational Safety and Health Act that mandates drug testing (or alcohol testing for that matter). Importantly, if you are going to implement drug testing, make sure it’s part of a comprehensive drug and alcohol policy, procedures and program.

Integrity Sampling can help

The other important thing, if you are considering implementing drug testing in your workplace in Western Australia, is to get expert help.

Integrity Sampling conducts workplace drug testing in Western Australia and we are experts in the field. We have seven branches in Western Australia, with geographical coverage across most of the main work areas of the state.

Give us a call on 1300 SALIVA to discuss your needs.


Drug testing in Western Australia in the workplace can save lives. Credit Graeme Churchard https://www.flickr.com/photos/graeme/5527100675/

By Paul Marshall

Paul is the Owner and Director of Integrity Sampling WA, which has technicians that provides drug and alcohol management services, including drug and alcohol testing, in the Perth area and all regional locations within Western Australia. You can connect with Paul Marshall on LinkedIn

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