Drug and Alcohol Testing Services FAQs
Below are some frequently asked questions that will help you understand the drug and alcohol testing service. Don't forget if you're a member you can call CCIQ on 1300 731 988 during Brisbane business hours and talk with an Industrial Relations Specialist who can provide more information and advice.
Drug and alcohol testing isn’t just about protecting employers from legal liability, it can also assist with:
- Improving the health and productivity of employees;
- Improving the morale of employees;
- Proactive intervention to reduce workplace accidents and workers compensation claims;
- Improving the reputation of the Company, making it easier to recruit and retain employees;
- Improved confidence of consumers, clients and the general public.
It’s only natural that employees would be concerned that a drug test will reveal to employers they are taking prescribed medication for legitimate reasons, that do not affect their ability to perform their work.
However, drug testing is designed to test only for certain drugs as per the table below. Similarly, alcohol is legal to purchase and consume but it’s use in prohibited circumstances can mean being under the influence can be illegal.
Also known as
Legal or illegal
*When prescribed and used under medical supervision.
To ensure a drug and alcohol policy does not infringe on an Employees privacy, it is important to ensure there is strong processes outlined, communication with employees occurs and the policy is reviewed on a regular basis.
An Employer’s policy will outline what happens when a non-negative result is produced. Depending on the Employer’s policy, the Employer may accept an explanation and supporting prescription from an Employee.
Employers are responsible for ensuring Employees are aware of the organisations drug and alcohol policy and Employees are responsible for taking reasonable care of their own health and safety and the health and safety of others as per section 28 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.
Where an Employee has been prescribed medication by their doctor, they should seek to understand the side effects and any impact it may have on the Employees ability to meet their health and safety obligations.
Attendance at the workplace under the influence of alcohol and drugs does not discriminate between occupations or industries. CCIQ’s Industrial Relations Specialists have heard from Employers in multiple industries requesting advice when an Employee has been suspected of, or tested positive for drugs and/or alcohol in the workplace.
Some of the recent instances of drug use in the workplace our HR Services team have been made aware of from Employers has included:
- Employee working in a customer facing reception role was slurring their words and losing consciousness in the workplace. Employee tested positive for Benzodiazepine (Valium) which had been prescribed by their doctor.
- Employee operating a company vehicle was arrested after their erratic and dangerous driving on a highway was reported by other road users. Employee tested positive to Opiate (Methadone).
- Employee operating a high-reach forklift injured themselves at the workplace. Employee tested positive to Methamphetamine (Ice).
- Employee appeared to be slow with reaction times, was not completing tasks in the required timeframe and told their Employer they were feeling sad and tired. Employee tested positive to Cannabis (Marijuana).