Test with Integrity
Employment drug and alcohol testing to verify for ‘‘ﬁtness for work’’ can serve as a powerful risk mitigation tool for Industry – and provide far-reaching social beneﬁts.
As well as promoting a safer, more productive work environment, testing may help to enhance employee wellbeing, on and off the job.
While neither employer nor employee really likes the idea of being involved in workplace drug and alcohol testing, it’s a fact of life for industries which are serious about safety and productivity, according to Michael Wheeldon, Managing Director of Integrity Sampling.
‘‘‘Fitness for work’ requires an individual to be in a physical, mental and emotional state that enables them to perform their assigned duties effectively and in a manner that does not increase the risk to themselves and others,’’ says Wheeldon.
So, there is one thing that really counts: a correct answer.
A false-negative test result – saying a person doesn’t have drugs in their system when they really do – may lead to serious outcomes for the individual and those around them. But a false positive result may have serious consequences, too.
For a worker, that may mean being unfairly penalised or stigmatised. For an employer, it could result in having to shut down or delay work, causing inconvenience to many and loss of productivity.
In the accuracy of Drug and Alcohol Testing Devices, you get what you pay for!
According to Alcohol and Drug Foundation research, almost one in 10 workers say they have experienced the negative effects of a co-worker’s misuse of alcohol and drugs.
Wheeldon says Integrity Sampling, accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) and International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), is a pioneer in oral ﬂuid (saliva) workplace testing in Australia.
‘‘We use the state-of-the-art German-manufactured Drager DrugTest 5000, which has been proven to provide less than one per cent false positives,’’ he explains.
‘‘It has become widely used by law enforcement agencies across the world, including ﬁve Australian police jurisdictions as a secondary drug screening device for roadside drug testing.’’
Drager DrugTest 5000 is veriﬁed to the new AS/NZS 4760:2019 drug testing standard, which sets out procedures for the collection, handling and testing of oral ﬂuid, Wheeldon says.
Oral ﬂuid drug testing is a popular employer choice, in part because saliva is considered to be the least invasive type of testing method, and one which can also detect recent drug usage, he adds.
‘‘Saliva tests measure what is known as the parent compound: the psychoactive element of the drug,’’ Wheeldon states.
‘‘Urine tests only measure by-product drug compounds. Therefore, if a person is under the inﬂuence of drugs when they give a urine sample, the test won’t reveal the current impairment level.”
‘‘In an oral ﬂuid analysis, lab technicians also double-test each positive result with liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LCTMS), the most sensitive drug testing method.’’
Wheeldon says the most common types of screening requested by employers are random alcohol and drug tests; post-incident testing of an employee who has been involved in a workplace incident or where reasonable cause (suspicion) has been raised that an employee is affected (impaired) by drugs or alcohol; and pre-employment testing.
Integrity Sampling undertakes testing across Australia and New Zealand and commonly tests for cannabis, cocaine, methamphetamines, amphetamines and opiates as well as alcohol.
*Above image courtesy of Integrity Sampling.