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Alcohol Testing in NZ

24 June, 2022

Every employee has the absolute right to a safe working environment. The workplace should foster a wholesome environment by promoting healthy lifestyles and minimising unsafe practices. Unfortunately, alcohol use is widespread across all sectors in New Zealand. Impaired or intoxicated employees can pose substantial safety risks to themselves and everyone in the workplace. Furthermore, most workplace accidents are due to alcohol-induced impairments. Therefore, many companies implement alcohol testing in NZ to minimise the negative impact of alcohol use. Alcohol testing is one way to deter alcohol impairments and protect the well-being of the workers.

Attaining zero accidents requires a collaborative effort from the management and all personnel to keep the workplace safe. A comprehensive alcohol program can help reinforce safety management practices. Moreover, a zero-tolerance policy is critical in high-risk industries such as mining, transport, construction, and manufacturing. For example, jobs that use heavy equipment rely on the operator’s attentiveness to manipulate the controls safely. Constant alcohol testing in NZ can help deter alcohol use and reduce preventable accidents or injuries. An alcohol testing centre uses a breathalyser to measure the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). The BAC indicates the level of intoxication or impairment in the system. Nowadays, employers may use BACtrack workplace breathalysers to help improve their workplace safety. BACtrack breathalysers are the alcohol testers that companies can use and trust. BACtrack devices from Breathalysers New Zealand mostly use highly accurate fuel cell sensors.

Alcohol Testing in NZ: Why do an Alcohol Test?

While companies are the most common to require alcohol testing, other situations require alcohol testing in NZ. Listed below are the conditions that require alcohol testing and their reasons why.

  • Workplace risk management – most employers employ alcohol testing during pre-employment to reduce the risk of hiring an employee with an alcohol use and abuse history. Also, employers use alcohol tests for workplace monitoring to reduce substance use or impairment.
  • Medical – medical emergencies need the use of alcohol tests. Furthermore, alcohol testing is essential for assessing health conditions in a crisis.
  • Legal – individuals accused of drunk driving are compelled to submit to alcohol testing as evidence.
  • Rehabilitation – alcohol tests track a person’s recovery from alcohol abuse and prevent relapse.

Depending on the situation, alcohol testing in NZ will use different types of procedures to get the best and most accurate results. These types of alcohol tests are discussed in the following section.

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Alcohol Testing in NZ: Types of Alcohol Test

Knowing the types of alcohol testing in NZ is essential for accurate results depending on the situation. While urine testing is best for drug screening, breath testing is best for workplace alcohol testing and roadside checking for drunk driving. The following will discuss these types of tests:

  • Urine alcohol test – Alcohol metabolites are found in urine during an alcohol test, proving that the subject has recently drunk alcohol. Depending on the type of urine test, the detection period can be from 12 to 80 hours.
  • Blood (PEth) alcohol test – The blood alcohol screen, also referred to as the PEth test, reveals whether a person has frequently been drinking or binge drinking over the previous three to four weeks.
  • Breath alcohol test – uses breathalysers for testing. Results are made instantly available. Results from an EBT may be admissible in court. The detection range is between 15 minutes and 24 hours after intake of an alcoholic drink. Breathalysers are used by law enforcement to prove drunk driving. Test findings are admissible in court if obtained with an Evidential Breath Test.
  • Hair alcohol screening – You can tell if someone has been using alcohol consistently or bingeing over the last 90 days by examining at their hair follicles. The most extended window for alcohol detection is through hair testing. However, this test cannot detect if a person recently consumed an alcoholic drink.

BAC Levels and NZ Limit

The types mentioned above of alcohol testing in NZ will show results in BAC levels. BAC is also known as Blood Alcohol Content. In New Zealand, anyone younger than 20 has a zero alcohol limit. That means enforcers could charge anyone with drunk driving if they drive after having even one drink. However, for individuals who are 20 and above, the legal limit is 0.05% BAC. If a person’s BAC is higher than 0.05%, enforcers will impose fines, or that person will be imprisoned. Additionally, higher BAC levels have more significant side effects on individuals and can result in road accidents or workplace incidents. To better understand the impact of alcohol as BAC level rises, check the following:

  • 0.01-0.05 – a person can feel relaxed, and this can result in a loss of inhibition
  • 0.06-0.10 – pleasure feeling and numbness. can result in nausea, sleepiness and emotional arousal
  • 0.11-0.20 – can sometimes result in mood swings like anger and sadness. A person may be seen with a mania
  • 0.21-0.30 – can result in aggression and reduce sensations
  • 0.31-0.40 – can lead to unconsciousness, coma and possible death
  • 0.41 and above – death

Consuming alcohol above moderation is always a bad thing. This can lead to accidents and even death. Thus, this is the reason that alcohol testing in NZ is essential. Most companies and law enforcements use breathalysers for alcohol testing.

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Alcohol Testing in NZ: Breathalysers

A breathalyser device is a cost-efficient method to monitor sobriety in the workplace. For instance, a manager may request a breath test to determine the BAC level of an employee with impairment symptoms. Additionally, under a zero-tolerance alcohol policy, an employee is unfit for work if the breathalyser shows positive BAC results. Even a minimal BAC level is unsafe and can lead to accidents. Likewise, the employee may face disciplinary actions depending on the provisions of the alcohol policy. Having a breathalyser is vital for workplace alcohol testing in NZ. Anyone in the workplace can operate a breathalyser without needing a licensed professional’s supervision.

On the other hand, police enforcers use breathalysers for alcohol testing in NZ. An individual will be asked to speak into a hand-held device that the police officer will place in front of the mouth. If that person lately consumed any alcohol, this will reveal it. Then, a breathalyser test will follow for confirmation of the BAC level of that individual. If the result is above the legal limit, that person must submit to a blood test or an evidentiary breath test.

Breathalysers from Breathalysers New Zealand

Breath tests are quick and easy. It takes BACtrack breathalysers from Breathalyser New Zealand 10 to 15 seconds to process BAC results. A reliable and accurate breathalyser is critical in maintaining a safe and healthy environment. Additionally, BACtrack workplace breathalysers use advanced fuel cell sensor technology to measure the BAC level precisely. Fuel cell sensors are sensitive to ethanol and do not react with other substances in the mouth. Therefore, these breathalysers are less likely to produce false-positive BAC results. Moreover, the BACtrack fuel cell sensor breathalysers have professional-grade accuracy. Furthermore, these are the same sensors in a police officer’s breathalyser. Lastly, alcohol testing in NZ is now easy and manageable, thanks to the BACtrack breathalysers available on Breathalysers New Zealand. 

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