Why should your business consider drug and alcohol testing, particularly if your workplace has safety critical roles?
There are many good reasons, but perhaps the most compelling is the research that shows that 80 per cent of adults in Australia drink alcohol, 15 per cent take illegal drugs and 11.4 per cent misuse medications. With figures such as these, it’s likely that alcohol, illegal drugs and prescription drugs are going to affect your business.
If you’re still not convinced, then consider this. When you look at the cost of alcohol and drug misuse to business in Australia – which includes the costs of accidents, injuries, lost production and other expenses – the grand total is a staggering $6 billion a year!
Workplace drug and alcohol testing
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) has a terrific page on its website for businesses that are considering introducing drug and alcohol testing in their workplace.
While workplace drug and alcohol testing can help protect your business, by detecting employees who are unsafe to be at work, as the ADF states, it should never be seen as a silver bullet or used in isolation. Drug and alcohol testing needs to be part of a broader program that aims to manage drugs and alcohol in the workplace.
This program should clearly outline and include:
- Your aims in introducing workplace drug and alcohol testing and other measures.
- The type of testing you will be use – saliva drug testing (best for ‘fit for work’ testing) versus urine drug testing (best for testing employees for recreational drug use).
- A robust drug and alcohol management policy that addresses alcohol and drug issues in the workplace.
- Specific details about the drug and alcohol testing that you will conduct, including consequences for failing a drug or alcohol test.
- Education for employees about your workplace’s policy and the potential issues of drugs and alcohol.
- Support for employees with drug or alcohol issues.
One of the reasons why a clear and detailed policy is required is that not having one leaves a business open to risk. For example, there have been several instances where businesses have had to reverse dismissals, or pay compensation to employees who have been dismissed, for failing a drug or alcohol test, because of unclear or non-existent policies.
More information about drug and alcohol testing
To read more about why you should consider drug and alcohol testing for your workplace, see ‘Considering drug testing in your workplace’ on the ADF website. You can also give Integrity Sampling a call on 1300 SALIVA for a no-obligation, confidential discussion on your needs.
Source: Alcohol and Drug Foundation.