Alcohol Pre Employment Test: The Need to Know
28 March, 2022
Alcohol misuse by employees is a pervasive safety issue in New Zealand workplaces. Alcohol intoxication is a leading factor in workplace accidents and injuries. Companies incur significant healthcare expenses, compensation, and production losses because of alcohol-related incidents. Fortunately, alcohol at work is a preventable hazard in the workplace. Moreover, under the Health and Safety Work Act 2015, employers must provide an environment free from health and safety risks. Therefore, many companies establish a prevention policy to minimise all preventable hazards. An alcohol pre-employment test with regular workplace testing is one of the practical strategies for maintaining a hazard-free environment.
Employees are the lifeforce of any organisation. Therefore, a stable workforce is vital in achieving company goals and objectives. However, if the employees’ conditions or welfare are not good, it can cause problems for the company. Alcohol impairment in the workplace can harm others and disrupt workflow. It also results in poor productivity and low output. Nowadays, safety-sensitive industries would rely on drug and alcohol testing to adequately safeguard the workplace from the hazards of substance use. Moreover, it is critical to hire the right people, especially for safety-sensitive roles. Typically, companies would perform an alcohol pre-employment test to ensure they are not hiring employees that can potentially endanger others.
Purpose of Alcohol Pre-Employment Test
Alcohol is a normal part of life for some people. However, a high alcohol concentration affects the vital organs, impairing normal functions of the brain and nervous system. Specifically, it can lead to blurred vision, impaired hearing, slow reaction time, memory loss, and poor coordination and balance. If the job entails driving or operating machinery, mental and physical alertness are critical to performing the task safely. A drug and alcohol pre-employment test can determine the possible alcohol or drug misuse. It is the first step to avoiding unsafe practices in the workplace.
A comprehensive alcohol policy enables the employer to administer an alcohol pre-employment test and subsequent testing for the workplace. High-risk industries like mining, construction, transportation, and production facilities have a firm zero-alcohol tolerance policy. A zero-alcohol tolerance means that the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) must be zero. Therefore, alcohol use or impairment within working hours is prohibited. Moreover, a workplace breathalyser from Breathalysers New Zealand, can help determine the BAC the employee’s alcohol level. Thus, companies adopt a zero-alcohol tolerance to attain a hazard-free environment. In general, drug and alcohol employment tests serve the following purposes:
- Reduce accidents from substance impairment
- Improve productivity
- Reduce liabilities
- Improve productivity
- Lower absenteeism and turnover rates
- Comply with state and federal laws
Alcohol Pre-Employment Test Policy
Drug and alcohol testing can be effective in deterring alcohol use and its impairments. But unfortunately, due to its invasive nature, it makes some employees uncomfortable. Also, many people think that it is an invasion of privacy or employee rights. Employers may legally administer workplace testing to ensure safety and protect the well-being of all personnel. A workplace policy helps set the guidelines for administering an alcohol pre-employment test. Moreover, the program can outline when a drug or alcohol test is done and the procedures for testing. The employer must follow the policy parameters to manage safety risks and avoid legal problems. Lastly, employees must also agree to the test by signing a consent form. The employer should include regular alcohol tests in the employment agreement.
Alcohol Pre Employment Test Methods
The employer must include that an alcohol pre-employment test is part of the hiring process in the job notice. This is to legally inform applicants of what’s to come. The common methods for drug or alcohol testing are:
- Breath Test – A breath test is the standard measure for alcohol screening. A breathalyser like BACtrack captures the breath sample and processes the alcohol content. The device will display a BAC amount if it detects alcohol in the breath. A breathalyser can detect alcohol for 12 to 24 hours after last consumption. So, if you drank the night before a breath test, there is a high probability the device can track alcohol consumption.
- Urine Test – Urine analysis can trace alcohol for 24 hours from the last intake. However, advanced tests like EtG/EtS can detect alcohol for up to 80 hours.
- Oral fluid Test – Saliva or mouth swab test uses a chemical assay test strip to determine alcohol presence for up to 24 hours.
- Hair Follicle Test – A hair test has a longer detection window and can determine alcohol use for 90 days. Moreover, this method helps identify the alcohol or substance history of a person. Specifically, it can detect when alcohol is consumed, how much, and periods of abstinence.
- Blood Test – The blood sample test is the most accurate yet the most invasive of all procedures. Therefore, it is ideal as a confirmatory test for preliminary test results.
Breath Tests: The Need to Know
An alcohol pre-employment test detects ethanol in the breath. Ethanol is the main compound in alcoholic beverages. During consumption, the body absorbs and carries it to different body organs. Portions of alcohol end up in the lungs, where they vaporise and exit through exhalation. The employer may administer a breath test through certified testing laboratories or on-hand workplace breathalysers. The workplace breathalysers from Breathalysers New Zealand utilises fuel cell sensor technology to estimate the BAC level. Fuel cell sensors undergo an electrochemical process to oxidise alcohol, producing small electrical currents. The number of currents generated corresponds to the volume of alcohol in the breath sample and converts into BAC. Additionally, fuel cell sensors are specific to ethanol only. Therefore, they are least likely to produce false-positive results.
A breathalyser is the most cost-efficient method for conducting an alcohol pre-employment test. A BACtrack breathalyser from Breathalysers New Zealand can process the breath sample within 10 to 15 seconds. Furthermore, operating the device is easy. BACtrack has a one-touch system for quick and convenient use. Simply press the power button and wait for the sensors to warm up. At the signal, ask the testee to blow into the mouthpiece. Then, the device will display the BAC test results on the screen. Nowadays, anyone can operate a breathalyser without needing professional experience, allowing companies to have more frequent alcohol tests. Companies also can use breathalysers during random, post-incident, and reasonable suspicion workplace testing.
Breath Tests with BACtrack
Nowadays, an alcohol pre-employment test is an essential part of hiring. It helps employers determine suitable candidates who can perform the job well. Additionally, BACtrack workplace breathalysers from Breathalysers New Zealand can reliably detect alcohol use and impairments. You may also use a personal breathalyser to help you monitor the increase or decrease of your BAC. Breathalysers New Zealand has a wide array of pro-grade alcohol testers for personal and workplace use. Furthermore, the pro-grade accuracy of BACtrack fuel cell breathalysers is the same as what police officers use in roadside screening. Therefore, you can ascertain high precision alcohol breath testing with a BACtrack device.