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Published Thursday, 28th May 2015

Starting a drug and alcohol testing program is often put in the too-hard-basket not long after the idea is conceived.  This is because it stirs up questions like, “What are our workers’ rights?”, and “What are the Employers rights?”, and “Where and how do we start?”.

Clearing up these questions is fairly easy and, once a drug and alcohol testing program is underway, it almost runs itself.  The challenge is getting started.

This is a simple step-by-step guide that takes the unknown elements out of commencing a Drug And Alcohol Testing Program.

  1. Drug and Alcohol Policy

In order for any company to conduct Drug And Alcohol testing, a Drug And Alcohol Testing Policy needs to be drafted up.  A Drug And Alcohol Policy documents relevant information about your testing program.  The policy needs to include such topics as Mandatory Rules, Drug And Alcohol Testing and Responsibilities.

The Australian Government Department Of Employment, OFSC has provided examples of policy documents from companies that you can download and adapt for your company to use:  http://www.fsc.gov.au/sites/FSC/Resources/AZ/Documents/Visionstream.pdf

This example from BMD Constructions, is comprehensive when considering Drug And Alcohol Testing:

http://www.fsc.gov.au/sites/FSC/Resources/AZ/Documents/BMDConstructionsDuty.docx

  1. Finding a Provider

How do we find the right provider and how do we know if the provider we engage is doing a great job?

The best way to sort through the long list of providers you will find on the web, is to separate those who have NATA Accreditation from those who don’t.  The National Association of Testing Authorities, or NATA, provide independent assurance of how well providers are able to follow Australian Standards for the collection, handling, storage and dispatch of biological samples used in Drug Testing.  This is important from a legal perspective.  If Australian Standards for the collection, handling, storage and dispatch of biological samples have not been followed, then the results of the testing can be disputed by Employees.

You can search for whether or not a provider has NATA accreditation by going to the NATA Facilities and Labs search page:   http://www.nata.com.au/nata/orgs-and-facilities/advanced-facilities-search

  1. Getting Started

Now all you have to do is figure out how to conduct your Drug And Alcohol Testing program in a way that fits within your budget and is operationally possible.  You may choose to perform testing in any of the following ways:

  • Onsite or offsite;
  • At the Pre-Employment stage;
  • Random or Causal and Suspicion (in the event of an accident) or both.

A good provider will be able to help you match testing to your workplace considering these elements.  Now you have all the resources you need to take the first step.

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