How businesses benefit from drug and alcohol testing
The abuse of drugs and alcohol plays a significant role in work-related injuries and fatalities.
Staff working under the influence of these substances can pose a danger to themselves, their fellow workers and the organisation’s reputation.
Major events, such as the forthcoming Melbourne Cup, are times when more workers test positive for drugs the next day, such as MET (methamphetamine/ice), MDMA (ecstasy) and THC (marijuana).
With October being National Safe Work Month, Andatech is drawing attention to the dangers of substance use and abuse in the workplace.
“Australian businesses are losing an estimated $6 billion annually due to substance use-related productivity issues and 7.5% of hospital morbidity is related to alcohol consumption in the workplace,” said Jaka Exstrada, Business Development Manager from Andatech.
“This abuse also contributes to adverse productivity outcomes such as absenteeism, lateness, a decrease in attention span, poor coordination, difficulty in comprehension and slower reaction time.”
Many employers who want to carry out tests but cannot justify having an in-house drug and alcohol testing regime for random testing, post-incident and emergency testing are turning to third-party testing, which is becoming more readily available.
This outsourced testing is more affordable and can be customised for each organisation, tailoring the level of equipment and the frequency and volume of drug and alcohol testing to suit their requirements.
“Organisations may not realise that on-site drug testing services, either urine or oral, can be set up for as little as one person per year. In addition, they can also opt for education and awareness presentations and inductions, and policy and procedure development.
“Third-party testing is ideal for smaller businesses who want to comply with workplace health and safety but would prefer a professional with experience in testing to undertake the tests.
“The testing service can also deal with awkward situations and it doesn’t hinder relationships between employees,” he said.
One Melbourne manufacturer that commenced testing earlier this year has seen the incidence of positive readings halved from an average of 6% to 3%. The improvement is expected to continue as staff realise they cannot get away with substance use.
The purpose of this company’s testing regime is to prevent staff from arriving at work still under the influence of drugs or alcohol as they are putting themselves and others at risk from injury or worse.
To this end, various types of testing is conducted including random testing and special days testing when people are more likely to give a positive result, such as the day after Melbourne Cup Day or Australia Day.
Some companies also conduct pre-employment tests, incident tests and for cause tests where they suspect someone may be under the influence.
For companies that want to manage their own testing regime, Andatech offers urine and oral DrugSense kits that test for nine different drug types.
The company also has the widest range of Australian Standard certified breathalysers in Australia, including AlcoSense workplace breathalysers.
However, many small enterprises are now turning to third-party on-site drug and alcohol services from Andatech, which uses a NATA accredited lab and certified collectors/testers, and offers 24/7 on-site testing in all major cities in Australia, which is crucial when emergency and post-incident testing is required quickly.
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