Same day dispatch

New Zealand owned

1-3 year warranty

NZ's breathalyser specialist

Alcohol and Drug Test for Employment: Legalities and Methods

05 April, 2022

A group of workers having a chat

Workplace testing is a regular procedure done by many companies worldwide. Employers perform these alcohol and drug tests for employment to help prevent and reduce potential workplace incidents and risks. Drug and alcohol consumption can cause impairments and negatively impact an employee. Some may experience judgment impairments, memory loss, coordination problems, blurred vision, and slow reaction times. Hence, employers develop company policies for drug testing. Here, they often include the reasons for testing, such as blanket and random testing.

An impaired employee can significantly affect workplace safety and endanger coworkers and the general public. In particular, it is dangerous and difficult to operate vehicles or heavy machinery while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. To help prevent substance misuse before and during work, employers require their workers to provide alcohol and drug tests regularly. This article will present information on workplace testing, including the legalities, reasons for testing, and types of methods.

Legalities of Implementing an Alcohol and Drug Test for Employment

When implementing an alcohol and drug test for employment, the law requires companies to follow legal guidelines and policies. Firstly, companies need to seek consent from employees or applicants before being able to provide tests. A formal agreement must be signed before an employer can legally test an employee. Employers would have applicants and employees sign a document agreeing to the workplace policy in most cases.

Moreover, a workplace policy should have guidelines on how to protect the privacy of current and potential employees. They must uphold this by strictly keeping test results confidential. Hence, only relevant staff should have access to the medical information and subsequent results. This ensures that the company does not violate the rights of the worker.

Furthermore, a workplace policy should also comply with the relevant laws and regulations related to workplace drug and alcohol tests. They should use kits or contact service providers with accreditation and certification from regulatory bodies. They can also benefit from establishing opportunities for confirmatory testing, education programs, and Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). Doing so can ensure the testing policy can benefit both employers and employees.

Benefits of Testing

  • Alcohol and drug tests can ensure that workplace safety and hazards are well managed.
  • It can ensure that all workers have no impairments and are fit to work.
  • Testing can drastically reduce the likelihood of accidents, reducing their annual costs. This includes healthcare costs, accident compensation costs, and damaged machinery costs
  • Reducing accidents with testing can drastically improve the productivity and revenue of a company
  • Substance use testing can also foster a comfortable working environment and increase job satisfaction.
  • Testing can provide early intervention to mitigate the development of a substance use disorder. This can protect the employee from the consequences of substance misuse.

alcohol-and-drug-tests-for-employment

Alcohol and Drug Test for Employment: Reasons for Testing

Aside from an alcohol and drug test for employment before hiring, there are plenty of other situations where employers can perform an alcohol and drug test. Most workplace policies and guidelines cover the rights of employers to test under specific conditions. Companies can hire certified testing services to provide these tests. Other than tests for pre-employment, companies can also try their employees during:

  • Random testing: An unannounced test with randomly selected participants. This form of testing can help catch employees trying to hide their usage.
  • Blanket testing: A procedure that tests all the employees in the company.
  • Post-accident/incident testing: A test used to check if alcohol or drug impairment contributed to a specific workplace accident. This form of testing can help the company decide the next course of action after an accident.
  • Post-positive testing: A test required for employees returning to work after a positive result. This test can help ensure that the returning employees are fit to work.

Can an Employee Refuse the Test?

An employee cannot refuse a test without potential repercussions. This is true, especially if they have agreed to an encompassing policy regarding testing. Hence, refusing a test may result in disciplinary action, similar to failing a test.

However, there are cases wherein an employee may request a different test if they have medical conditions that disallow them from complying with the initial test. To prevent misunderstandings, the employee can communicate this to their supervisor or an employee representative. A worker could also consult a legal professional if they feel like the testing is unfair or discriminatory.

Two SHIELD breathalysers

Types of Testing Methods in an Alcohol and Drug Test for Employment

There are several methods that employers can use to conduct an alcohol and drug test for employment. Firstly, urine testing is the standard method used in workplaces. It can detect a wide variety of substances for several days.

Secondly, saliva testing is a more convenient method often used during onsite tests. It can also detect multiple substances and has a non-invasive and easy collection method. Thirdly, blood testing is considered the most accurate method of testing. However, it can be costly and involves an invasive collection procedure. It is more commonly used for confirmatory tests instead of initial screenings.

Fourthly, hair follicle testing helps companies acquire a history of substance use. It has a long detection period of 90 days. However, it is not suited for tracing recent use since this does not include the seven to ten days before collection. Lastly, breath testing is done using devices called breathalysers. They are convenient tools that can trace alcohol use for up to 24 hours. They are also very convenient for companies to use.

Professional-Grade Breathalysers for Workplace Safety

Companies can rely on a breath alcohol test to accurately measure the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels of an employee. The BAC level determines the level of intoxication. Moreover, it can also indicate the level of impairment. Hence, using professional-grade workplace breathalysers can help prevent those under the influence of alcohol from endangering others. This is especially true because they show results within seconds.

Breathalysers New Zealand offers a selection of workplace breathalysers that have fuel cell sensors. These are the BACtrack S80 Pro Gen 2, BACtrack Mobile Pro Gen 2, SHIELD Express Identity, and SHIELD Express Touch. These are reliable devices that produce accurate results.

Conclusion

An alcohol and drug test for employment during the hiring stage can help companies choose the right applicant. This test can help prevent companies from hiring employees who might have a drug or alcohol abuse problem. This is crucial because applicants with substance use problems are more likely to endanger the workplace and coworkers. Hence, they may use urine, saliva, hair, blood, and breath alcohol tests to identify them.

However, employers must still ensure compliance with the relevant laws and regulations. Thus, they must protect the privacy of the applicant throughout the process by keeping their medical information confidential. Employers must also get consent before conducting a test. After hiring the worker, they may also have them sign an agreement for regular testing for certain reasons, such as blanket testing, random testing, and post-accident testing. Those interested in using breathalysers may check the workplace breathalysers here at Breathalysers NZ.

0
    Shopping Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop
      Calculate Shipping
      Shipping options will be updated during checkout.
      BACtrack Go Keychain Breathalyser

      BACtrack Go Keychain

      $69.97

      539 Reviews

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Driving Restrictions? (P Platers, Zero Tolerance etc)

      Is Device Size Important?

      Is Device Size Important?

      Is Device Size Important?

      Your Perfect Match

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Why upgrade?

      Would you like extra mouthpieces?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      • Sale! BACtrack Scout Breathalyser
        Personal

        BACtrack Scout

        Rated 0 out of 5
        Original price was: $169.97.Current price is: $139.97.
        24 Reviews
        Add to cart

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Thank you for registering your breathalyser.

      Our system will now automatically send you a notification when your calibration is due.

      You may be interested in…

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Why upgrade?

      Are you Testing Employees?