Why drug test

As Employers, we must ensure the health and welfare of all staff members. For example it is the employers duty to provide for a safe workplace environment, which is free of risks to health. In addition to workers, this also include health and safety for contractors and clients. It goes without saying that Drug related problems and alcohol can occur in any workplace. 

Estimates of the cost of injuries, absenteeism, lost production, workers compensation and rehabilitation services, arising from the misuse of alcohol and other drugs in the workplace vary in the current research data available. Furthermore, the abuse of alcohol and other drugs may damage physical and mental health (Source Safework NSW). 

Many factors have been put forward as possibly contributing to the misuse of alcohol and other drugs including:

  • grief
  • family and relationship problems
  • interpersonal conflict
  • health concerns
  • gambling
  • financial problems
  • loss of control and lack of participation in any decision making process
  • harassment, bullying or victimisation
  • long and/or irregular working hours
  • tight deadlines and unrealistic performance targets • high risk of personal injury or illness at work
  • discrimination or prejudice
  • corporate entertaining
  • poor job design or hazardous work processes
  • history of substance abuse

The OHS regulation requires that hazards are identified and action taken to systematically eliminate (or if elimination is not practicable, to control) risks arising from them.

One important action to minimise risks is - Drug Testing. With a correct set up Drug Testing policy, the employer will  not only detect current abuse, you can also monitor long term misusage. 

Other helpful aspect of drug testing is that increased safety, lower work related accidents and reduced absenteeism – lead to better productivity. 

What to do if you suspect drug usage in your working environment

Employers have a legitimate interest in drug and alcohol use amongst their employees in certain circumstances. These circumstances are:

  • Random testing – at random intervals the employer randomly selects a number of people to be tested.
  • At fixed intervals – the employer may choose to select a given number of staff members at fixed intervals.
  • Following an incident or accident – the employer will carry out a mandatory test upon an incident or accident
  • Cause for suspicion – the employer may elect to test anyone who acts suspiciously
  • As the staff enter a work site – there may a regulation whereby the employer tests everyone entering a work site.

What is a screening test

The whole idea with an on-site screening test, urine or oral fluid, is to sort out the negative results from the presumptive positive tests.

A vast majority of the screening tests are negative, typically above 95 %. Focus will be aimed at the presumptive positive test(s), which must be sent to a laboratory for confirmatory testing, a process which typically takes two business days. This means that an employer should not take any legal action before the confirmatory result is available.

What to do when you have a presumptive positive screening test

APAC offers collection kits – urine and oral fluid – which are used to collect and ship specimen samples to a toxicology laboratory.

The APAC urine confirmation kit consists of:

  • Two specimen jars, where the content from the urine screening cup is decantated into the two specimen jars.
  • Security seals that goes across the specimen jar, hindering anyone from tampering with the samples.
  • Tamperproof plastic bag where you place the two specimen jars.
  • Transport container, which houses the above.

The APAC oral fluid confirmation kit consists of:

  • A saliva collection kit, which include two oral fluid pads that soaks up saliva from the mouth.
  • Two vials where you insert the collection pads
  • Security seals that goes across the specimen vial, hindering anyone from tampering with the samples.
  • Tamperproof plastic bag where you place the two specimen vials.
  • Transport container, which houses the above.