Procedures for Onsite Drug and Alcohol Testing
31 August, 2022
Managing drug and alcohol use is vital to securing personal and public safety. Substance use is one of the top factors of workplace accidents, injuries, and low output. In addition, companies incur high costs in healthcare expenses, compensation, and revenue losses. Therefore, it is common for employers to conduct onsite drug and alcohol testing to keep the working environment safe and healthy. Drug and alcohol tests aim to determine workers with an impairment that may endanger themselves and others on the job. It also helps deter substance use that may lead to long-term health risks. Observing proper guidelines for workplace testing can help companies manage occupational hazards effectively.
Drug and alcohol testing is a standard requirement for high-risk industries like mining, transportation, healthcare, manufacturing, and construction. It helps ensure that all workers are fit to accomplish their tasks. Moreover, more organisations adopt onsite drug and alcohol testing to minimise substance-related hazards. However, businesses need to establish a workplace policy to conduct employment testing. The policy includes the conditions and methods for testing. One of the practical means that workplaces utilise is a professional breathalyser for alcohol detection. Devices from Breathalysers New Zealand help many industries stay alcohol-free.
Advantages of Onsite Drug and Alcohol Testing
A traditional test method typically occurs at a laboratory testing facility. However, taking employees out of the workplace takes time and effort. Thus, more employers shift to onsite drug and alcohol testing to maintain efficiency while managing risks. Some companies utilise mobile facilities or self-testing equipment for drug and alcohol screening. Testing kits like a breathalyser are cost-effective and help companies save on costs. Moreover, onsite testing has the following advantages:
- Uninterrupted workflow. Employees do not need to leave the work site for hours to perform the test. They can perform the procedure, get the results in a few minutes, and return to work immediately. As a result, it lessens downtime.
- Immediate results. Drug testing kits can return the test results within five minutes. On the other hand, a breathalyser device like the BACtrack processes the breath sample and displays the person’s alcohol level in 10 to 15 seconds. Therefore, employers will immediately know currently impaired employees and make safety decisions.
- Reduced missed or delayed tests. Sending workers offsite will increase the probability of delaying the tests. With onsite testing, it will eliminate the possibility of missed tests or tampering with the results.
- Save costs. Workplaces utilising testing equipment save money on clinic fees and transportation expenses.
Onsite Drug and Alcohol Testing Guidelines
Drug and alcohol testing help improve the safety and well-being of the workplace and employees. However, companies rely on a comprehensive workplace policy to facilitate onsite drug and alcohol testing. The policy serves as a guide for employers and workers on handling substance use and its consequences. Additionally, it helps minimise legal liabilities for employers by complying with state or federal laws. Therefore, organisations adhere to strict regulations when administering drug and alcohol tests. Furthermore, onsite testing follows these guidelines:
- Identify the participants. For example, blanket testing requires everyone to perform the test regardless of position.
- The test administrator explains the purpose of the test.
- Obtain employee consent through a signed consent form template.
- Collect samples (urine, blood, saliva, breath) through the proper collection method.
- Test analysis. Testing kits and breathalysers give rapid results after procuring the specimen. Meanwhile, mobile laboratories use testing apparatus to determine the results.
- Receive and interpret the results.
When to Conduct Onsite Drug and Alcohol Testing
Companies can facilitate onsite drug and alcohol testing under particular circumstances. The workplace policy includes the conditions of when tests happen. Likewise, employers may request a drug and alcohol test for safety or preventive purposes. The common reasons for conducting workplace testing are pre-employment, post-incident, random, and reasonable suspicion. Including drug and alcohol tests in pre-employment helps employers determine if a prospective employee has substance use problems or risky behaviour that may compromise workplace safety. Likewise, the post-incident test is important to help identify the factors contributing to the accident. Moreover, workplaces with zero-tolerance policies may require daily or regular testing. The test may be scheduled or random to monitor employees effectively. Lastly, a reasonable suspicion test is to evaluate a specific employee displaying noticeable signs of impairment. Employers base the test on objective facts indicating that the individual is violating a company policy.
Drug and Alcohol Test Methods
Employers can utilise various test methods to identify employee drug and alcohol use. The standard procedures for onsite drug and alcohol testing are urine or saliva test for drugs and breath tests for alcohol. A urine sample test detects commonly abused substances, such as cannabis, methamphetamine, ecstasy, cocaine, and hallucinogens. A standard urine test can trace drug use for up to 48 hours, while advanced tests for up to 72 hours. Meanwhile, utilising oral fluid or mouth swab tests is increasing due to their ease of use. A saliva test can detect drugs within 5 to 24 hours. Other test methods are blood analysis and hair follicle tests. A blood test is the most invasive type; therefore, they are used to confirm a preliminary test with a positive result. Lastly, a hair follicle test helps establish a person’s past substance due to its longer detection window of 90 days.
Workplaces use a breath test through a breathalyser device to detect alcohol consumption. During an onsite drug and alcohol testing, employees provide a breath sample to measure the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). The breathalysers perform an oxidisation process when it contacts alcohol. Moreover, workplaces use professional-grade devices to get the most accurate results. The workplace breathalysers at Breathalysers New Zealand utilise enlarged fuel cell sensors to trace alcohol amounts completely. Fuel cell sensors are sensitive to ethanol and do not react with other substances. Therefore, it is less likely to produce false positives.
Workplace Breathalysers at Breathalysers New Zealand
Breathalysers are portable devices that are easy to use or carry around. It also does not need a professional to administer a breath test. Therefore, it is convenient for workplaces to use a breathalyser for onsite drug and alcohol testing. Breathalysers New Zealand offers robust alcohol testers ideal for workplace use:
- BACtrack S80 Pro Gen2 – enable quick alcohol breath test through the one-touch operation.
- BACtrack Mobile Gen2 – breathalyser with smartphone connectivity for remote alcohol monitoring.
- Alcovisor Mercury – with screening and testing options for flexible use.
Onsite drug and alcohol testing help companies manage substance-related risks and reduce untoward incidents. Reliable devices like breathalysers enable employers to conduct frequent workplace testing at reasonable costs and improve employee safety and productivity. Furthermore, the BACtrack breathalysers utilising the Xtend fuel cell sensor technology have FDA approval and meet the requirements for an effective breath screening device. You may get reliable breathalysers at Breathalysers New Zealand for workplace or personal use.