Which type of workplace drug testing will you employ?

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There are four main types of workplace drug and alcohol testing – pre-employment, incident, random and cause or reasonable suspicion. Credit Nick Agus Arya https://unsplash.com/photos/two-people-riding-motorcycle-looking-at-the-excavator-accident-XAzU-hRgR8I

In the world of workplace drug and alcohol testing, there are different types of testing you can employ. In this blog, we’ll explain what the different types of testing are and which you may consider for your workplace. Here’s a tip – and a sneak peek – you shouldn’t choose the types you employ randomly.

What are the different types of workplace drug testing?

The four main types of workplace drug and alcohol testing are pre-employment, incident, random and cause or reasonable suspicion testing.

  1. Pre-employment drug testing is testing before a person begins a job. Or more correctly, it’s an integral part of the job application process. This testing is designed to identify drug use in a prospective employee before he or she is hired and will help ensure employees are more likely to adhere to the company’s drug policies and maintain a drug-free workplace. Pre-employment drug testing is very common in some countries – most notably the United States – where it’s used not just in safety-imperative roles, as it is in Australia, but across all roles and in any industry. Pre-employment testing may also be used whenever a person is promoted or moved throughout the organisation.
  2. Incident workplace drug testing is conducted after a workplace accident, irrespective of whether anyone has been injured or equipment damaged. This testing aims to determine whether drugs or alcohol played a role in the incident. The outcome of the testing can shape potential disciplinary actions, although the prime objective is to better understand what caused the accident and prevent similar accidents in the future.
  3. Random drug testing may seem obvious – it’s testing that can take place without any prior notice or warning to employees. However, to be truly random there’s more to it than this. In a large organisation, the randomness of the testing will also target different sites or locations of your company, different areas including potentially off-site areas, different shifts, different crews and, of course, different days and times. Random workplace drug testing’s purpose is to people coming to work under the influence. Random testing is a key linchpin in an employer’s efforts to maintain a safe working environment.
  4. Reasonable suspicion workplace drug testing is implemented when employers have a reasonable suspicion that an employee has come to work affected by drugs or alcohol. Testing is vital in these instances because there are many reasons why people may seem under the influence, when they’re not. If a person tests positive to drugs or alcohol during reasonable suspicion testing, they can be removed from the work environment to ensure their safety and the safety of others.

Which workplace drug testing types should you employ?

Which workplace drug testing types should you implement in your business? It will depend on your workplace. You’ll need to consider your company’s circumstances and your main goals for introducing testing.

As an employer, you are responsible for providing a safe work environment for your people and you need to decide which workplace drug testing types will help achieve this. For some workplaces, all types of testing are implemented. In others, only two or three of the types of testing are used. An important note is that once you choose which workplace drug testing you will implement, provide full details in your drug and alcohol policy.

If you are unsure about which types of testing to implement in your workplace, or would like any information about workplace drug testing, contact Integrity Sampling today.

Note: For company directors, the responsibility – and the importance of drug and alcohol testing – can be even greater. Directors have a legal duty to implement and monitor systems to ensure safe working conditions in their workplaces as far as reasonably practical.

In nearly all Australian jurisdictions, there is a positive obligation on directors to exercise due diligence in relation to work health and safety (WHS). Directors can be personally liable for breaches of this duty and the penalties extend to possible imprisonment and very substantial fines. Good governance practice ensures that every board meeting has WHS as a topic on the agenda.

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There are four main types of workplace drug and alcohol testing – pre-employment, incident, random and cause or reasonable suspicion. Credit Nick Agus Arya https://unsplash.com/photos/two-people-riding-motorcycle-looking-at-the-excavator-accident-XAzU-hRgR8I

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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