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FAQs for Managers

Drug Testing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for managers

We want to introduce workplace drug testing to our business – what is the process?
To ensure the smooth implementation of a workplace drug and alcohol testing policy to any business, our staff are there to guide and support you through each step of the process. We will meet with you to discuss your business, your workplace health and safety issues and requirements, and to ascertain a policy that is best fit to your business. We will work with you and your staff throughout the entire process, providing you with all the information, education and tools you’ll need.

I have an employee who I suspect is using drugs. What should I do?
In this situation, it is extremely important to follow the correct process. It is imperative that you have a workplace drug and alcohol policy that allows for testing of staff in a range of scenarios, such as random testing or ‘reasonable cause’ testing. If you don’t currently have a policy in place, we can help you to formulate and implement a workplace drug and alcohol testing policy. The drug test itself is a very straightforward process, but this should never be undertaken unless your workplace policies and procedures and employment contracts allow for it.

What should I do if my employee fails the initial drug screening test?
If an employee fails their drug screening test, as per AS/NZS 4308:2008, the sample should be forwarded to an accredited laboratory for confirmation testing. It will usually take 2 working days for the laboratory to complete their testing and for the results to be made available. Depending on your workplace policies, your employee may be stood down whilst waiting for the formal laboratory results. The employee is only deemed to have failed their drug test if subsequent laboratory confirmation testing reveals a positive result. As an employer, you will then manage this according to your workplace policies and procedures, and against the employee’s employment contract.

With random drug testing, can the company manager decide which employees have to undergo a drug test?
Whilst some companies may have their own methods for the random selection of employees required to undergo random drug testing, at DSTNZ we do not recommend this practice. We recommend that randomisation is performed utilising a professional randomiser tool and undertaken by our organisation. This will eliminate the risk of any actual or potential bias towards any specific employees.

What does ‘reasonable cause’ testing mean?
Reasonable cause is a term used to describe a workplace situation whereby due to the behaviour, actions, or demeanour of an employee, there is concern that they may have recently ingested and be under the influence of illicit drugs and/or alcohol. This may have occurred prior to arriving at work, or whilst at work. The incident/behaviours should be well-documented, and we would recommend that two or more senior staff members verify the concerns regarding the particular employee. Each workplace will have specific provisions for reasonable cause testing within their drug and alcohol policies.

What is a post-incident drug test, when should this be undertaken and who should be tested?
A post-incident drug test occurs after there has been an incident/accident or near-miss involving a company employee(s), company vehicle or company equipment/property. The employee(s) directly involved in the incident, as well as those in the immediate vicinity, should be immediately stood down from their duties and be required to undergo drug and alcohol testing as soon as possible. There is an increased risk of incidents/accidents and near-misses when an employee has illicit drugs or misused prescription drugs in their system. If the employee fails their drug screening test the outcome or consequences of this will be determined by the company policies and the employment contract.

What is rehabilitation drug testing?
Rehabilitation testing allows for the implementation of an ongoing random testing programme of an employee who has previously failed a workplace drug test. Rehabilitation programmes are geared around allowing the employee a chance to become drug-free and to maintain their employment. Any such rehabilitation programme must be in line with company policies and the individual employment contract.

What does the term ‘safety-sensitive’ mean?
Safety-sensitive is the term to describe workplace roles or sites that expose the employee to additional hazards. These hazards include, but are not limited to, situations such as:

  • working with heavy machinery
  • working at heights
  • working with hazardous chemicals
  • working around water
  • working with electricity
  • the adventure tourism industry
  • In these situations, failure to properly perform duties involved in the role may expose the employee or others to a risk of injury, harm, serious harm, or damage to property or equipment. Employees in safety-sensitive roles are often expected to participate in their company’s workplace drug testing programme as a matter of health and safety compliance.

    What is the Australia/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 4308:2008?
    AS/NZS 4308:2008 is the Standard that was prepared by the Standards Australia/Standards New Zealand Committee to provide guidelines, procedures and standards for the detection of drugs in urine. The Standard covers the requirements for urine collection, on-site screening, handling and dispatch of specimens to an accredited laboratory, as well as laboratory procedures.

    What is IANZ accreditation and why is it important to use an accredited drug testing organisation?
    IANZ (International Accreditation New Zealand) is a national technical accreditation organisation, with internationally recognised expertise in accreditation programme management. Accreditation provides formal, independent recognition that an organisation is meeting internationally accepted standards of quality, performance, technical expertise and competence. It is important to utilise the services of an accredited drug testing organisation to provide assurance of excellence in the specialty of workplace drug testing. Utilising a non-accredited drug testing organisation may put your business at risk, particularly for matters that may go before the Courts.

    Is workplace drug testing expensive?
    At DSTNZ, we are committed to providing quality and yet affordable drug and alcohol testing services to our clients. We have one of the most competitive pricing structures for our services in the marketplace. Contact us directly for our current price list.