Getting back to work in the new world of COVID-19


As many businesses tackle the challenges of operating within COVID-19 restrictions, it’s important to factor alcohol and drug testing in this equation. The reality is alcohol and drug issue can occur in anywhere, including workplaces, and if it’s in your workplace then it can come at a huge cost.

According to statistics, one in 10 Australian employees say they have been affected by a colleague’s use of alcohol or drugs in the workplace. One in 10! The Alcohol and Drug Foundation estimates alcohol and drugs cost Australian workplaces $6 billion in lost productivity each year. Annually more than four per cent of Australians go to work affected by alcohol and two per cent go to work affected by illicit drugs. In addition, many go to work affected by prescription drugs.

Alcohol and drugs can cause serious problems for any business. The effects can include injury, damage to plant and equipment, costly legal action and, in some tragic cases, loss of life.

What’s the answer? It starts with an alcohol and drug policy, clearly setting out measures to take to reduce the risks of alcohol and drugs in your workplace. And, generally, the policy should be rigorously implemented using world-class drug and alcohol testing.

Alcohol and drug testing is not designed to create consequences for employees, it’s designed to keep them safe. In October 2019 ABC Online quoted employment and safety lawyer, David Dilger, saying, “Now we’re seeing modern alcohol and other drugs policies that are more to do with work health and safety rather than penalising anyone. It’s a sort of a breach of the worker’s own duty, because why wouldn’t you participate in a regime set up by the employer to make sure people are safe in the workplace?”

Alcohol and drug testing and COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has strongly affected most industries, while restrictions imposed by governments and social distancing rules have forced most employers to redesign staff rosters, modify roles and responsibilities or put their operations on hold.

Once the corona-crisis is contained, many businesses will have to reinvent themselves and adopt new ways of working. In the ‘new normal’, productivity, efficiency and worker health and safety will be more important than ever. Over the past years Integrity Sampling has started engaging in digital transformation strategy, and – as part of effective response to the pandemic – we expect these initiatives to accelerate.

For more information on how Integrity can assist your organisation with effective drug and alcohol testing, education and Employee “Fit for Work” Awareness Inductions, please contact Integrity Sampling on 1300 725 482 or visit our website


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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