Tips on workplace alcohol and drug testing policy

Workplace drug and alcohol policies are becoming increasingly common due to problems caused by substance and alcohol abuse in the workplace, such as incidents, lost productivity, staff turnover and low morale.

Some key take-home messages include:

  • Use simple language when developing a workplace alcohol and drug testing policy so that it’s easy to understand and accept
  • Focus on workplace and employee safety rather than punishment
  • Tailor workplace alcohol and drug policies to meet the needs of the individual workplace
  • Only buy and trust equipment that has been tested for accuracy and reliability, such as industrial breathalysers with Australian Standard AS3547 Certification that have been police tested
  • Be familiar with symptoms of a hangover, which may not present a positive alcohol reading but can still impair work performance and safety. This includes actions against hangovers in the policy
  • Train OHS staff for workplace drug testing to ensure the right methodology and communication is used when testing employees.

It is also important to ensure that employees understand that a workplace drug and alcohol policy is dedicated to reducing workplace risks, rather than to control how employees should conduct themselves outside of working hours.

Workplaces should consider introducing a drug and alcohol policy to encourage employee safety and safe workplace attitudes, especially in high hazard industries where workplace safety is paramount.

Workplace drug and alcohol testing course

The workplace drug and alcohol testing course is designed for anyone responsible for drug and alcohol screening or collection in the workplace. It’s also suitable for those wishing to learn more about drug and alcohol screening procedures.

Elements of the workplace alcohol and drug testing course include:

  • Understanding organisational guidelines for drug and alcohol testing
  • Planning for drug and alcohol testing
  • Communicating testing requirements to employees
  • Undertaking random testing
  • Undertaking reasonable cause testing
  • Undertaking post-incident testing
  • Completing records and testing documentation

What participants will learn

Managing the safety and health of people at work can be challenging, costly and time consuming.

Furthermore, it could have direct cost impacts through reducing the chance of workplace incidents.

Being able to quickly and effectively deliver or manage drug and alcohol screening programs allows workplaces to significantly improve the health, safety and wellbeing of their workplace.

Having the right skills and knowledge to deliver and arrange these programs is imperative:

  • Understanding of relevant Australian standards and legislation
  • How to perform a saliva drug test
  • How to perform a urine drug test
  • How to perform a breath alcohol test
  • Practical, hands-on application of drug and alcohol testing skills
  • Understanding of drug and alcohol testing related issues and how to deal with them (communication, employee reaction and considerations for policy and procedures)