Benefits Of Drug & Alcohol Testing in The Workplace


Substance abuse can cause an array of conflicts in the workplace, and utilising effective testing methods prevents these unwanted circumstances. 

Whether you're a business owner in Australia wanting to set a workplace standard or want to learn about the importance of on-site screening, there are many reasons to implement drug and alcohol testing. 

Under the model Work Health and Safety Act, workers must not be under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. So, what are these tests, and why are they a tool for promoting health, productivity, and security at work?


What Is Drug and Alcohol Testing?

An alcohol or drug screening is when a sample such as urine, saliva, or breath is collected and analysed. A person drug testing onsite is normally responsible for sample collection, storing, handling, and dispatching these specimens. 

Duties include preparing equipment for testing, explaining the process to workplace staff, performing tests and communicating with workplace supervisors. If you’re looking to implement workplace drug testing, consider ordering a drug test kit from a trusted partner. 


Are Drug and Alcohol Testing Mandatory?

While workplace drug test starter kits are an effective strategy for combating misuse, the Australian Occupational Health and Safety Regulations don't require, prohibit, or mandate testing. 

However, while it isn’t mandatory for all industries, there is a legal obligation for drug testing products or programs only in industries that require a drug and alcohol management plan. This includes military, mining, logistics, transport, rail, maritime, aviation, agriculture, and government roles.


Implementing Workplace Drug Testing

  • Testing needs to be part of a comprehensive drug and alcohol program supported by policies, procedures, and employee education or training.
  • Policies must be developed in consultation with employees.
  • Procedures and policies need to cover employee confidentiality, detailing what happens if an employee refuses.
  • Policies and procedures must cover the process of complaints.


Benefits of Drug and Alcohol Testing

There are numerous benefits to drug and alcohol testing, both to the company and employees. 

According to Work Safe Victoria, alcohol and other drug use may become an occupational health hazard and safety risk if an employee shows impaired motor control, judgement, or alertness.


A safe working environment

As drugs and alcohol can heavily impact coordination, the effects can be detrimental to the work environment. 

Drug and alcohol testing can prevent workplace accidents from occurring. For example, workers on construction sites need constant concentration, such as scaffolders.


Boosting productivity

Performance and productivity can drop when working under the influence. Drug and alcohol testing can assist with helping employees reach company goals such as attending important meetings or meeting company KPIs for the month.


Legal compliance

In some industries such as aviation, construction, or transport, drug and alcohol testing is mandatory for workplace health and safety. In these cases, employees need to be fit to drive or handle dangerous machinery.


Assists the hiring process

When hiring potential employees, a workplace drug testing program can prevent employers from hiring unreliable staff.


Protects company reputation

Putting a drug and alcohol policy in place can boost the overall reputation of a company by preventing workplace accidents. If you want help with building a policy, here is a helpful guide from Work Safe Victoria.


Deterrent effect

Drug and alcohol testing can work as a deterrent for drug users. The fear of regular testing is a preventative and discourages employees from getting into conflict. Testing is also an excellent way to help drug abusers overcome drug and alcohol addiction.


Reduce recruitment costs

Alcohol and drug-related sick leave or absenteeism increase recruitment costs, resulting in needing to find other employees that can cover shifts.


Reduce medical costs

Have you ever witnessed an employee injuring themselves at work? Illicit drugs have often resulted in workplace injury, accidents, and compensation claims, resulting in the company needing to pay for medical expenses. Drug testing in the workplace can cut these risks completely.


Worker Drug Tested

Types of Testing

There are many circumstances for drug and alcohol tests for employees. According to the Workplace Drug Testing Association Introduction (2019), workplace drug testing is conducted using a point-of-care device, such as a urine cup or oral fluid device, which also acts as a screening device.


Pre-employment testing

Pre-employment drug testing can be a condition for employment. This is often the case for construction industries as these roles require immense concentration.


Court-ordered testing

If an employee has been involved in criminal activity, a court may order testing involving substances or probation and custody cases. The duration of these tests depends on the court.


Annual physical testing

An annual examination can be put into place for all employees. However, workplace drug testing requires a drug and alcohol policy before carrying out tests, informing employees of this policy beforehand.


Reasonable suspicion

If an employee consistently shows signs of drug dependence or has a series of documented unsafe behaviour, a test can be administered to protect other co-workers. 


Post-accident testing

If an employee was involved in a workplace accident, employers can test for drugs and alcohol if they are determined to be the cause.


Random testing

Random workplace tests can determine misuse and are known to be one of the most effective methods. For example, the Vic Roads Drug and Alcohol Policy states that random drug testing improves safety by deterring drug use among workers.


Post-treatment testing

Post-rehabilitation, testing employees for drugs can encourage employee sobriety at work.


How to Identify Drug-Influenced Behaviour?

Identifying whether someone is under the influence of drugs is key to keeping a work environment safe.

  • Change in behaviour or attitude, such as increased mood swings or irritability.
  • Missing work regularly while giving short notice to employers.
  • Difficulty with concentration, memory, and reduced reaction time.
  • Periods of high and low productivity.
  • Difficulty meeting deadlines or attending appointments.


Test Types

There are a number of ways to successfully test for drugs and alcohol including easy-to-use drug and alcohol testing kits, which consist of saliva and urine testing.  


Saliva testing

Saliva drug testing kits are one of the most common testing methods, collected by a simple wipe down the donor's tongue and a result appearing within 8 minutes. Saliva testing is also used by Roadside Police on a daily basis using the same brand of Saliva Drug test Kits, the Securetec DrugWipe.   


Urine testing

As the second most common form of drug testing, a urine sample must be disposed of in a testing cup such as an Eco Cup urine test. Results from urine drug test kits are displayed within 3-5 minutes.


Breath testing

Breath testing can determine a person’s blood alcohol concentration by measuring the amount of alcohol on a person’s breath. Handheld breathalysers and wall-mounted options are available depending on your requirements in the workplace. 


What Drugs Are Detected?

Cannabis (THC)















Drug Test Blue 


Challenges of Testing

Although alcohol and drug testing promote a safer work environment, the process isn't always straightforward. In this case, it’s important to look for a trusted provider who is able to not only assist with a reliable product but also provide ongoing service and support throughout your drug testing journey. 


Legal and ethical concerns

When distributing drug and alcohol testing, it needs to align with company policies and regulations. Likewise, the privacy of staff or employees needs to be considered and respected.


False positives

Testing has many different layers that could vary the result. For example, some employees may be taking prescription drugs and this can affect test results. The Securetec DrugWipe and Eco Cup are preliminary drug tests, therefore a confirmatory test should always be undertaken when a not-negative result is found.  


Trustworthy Drug Test Kits Across Australia

Whether you are looking for saliva testing, urine testing or a provider to come onsite and conduct the testing, at Pathtech we can assist your workplace by providing high-quality, reliable drug test kits across Australia. 

With over 38 years of experience, we are a trusted partner for your drug testing needs. Contact our Pathtech team today to experience end-to-end service with our friendly team.