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On-site drug testing is not the final judgement

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According to LaneWorkSafe Pty Ltd- Wholesale Drug and Alcohol Screening Equipment , there is increasing use of OnSite urine drug testing devices by Australian businesses wishing to meet their obligations under OH and S Law by providing a safe and healthy workplace. Urine drug testing provides the means of identifying those employees who maybe at risk. Importantly, organisations need to fully understand the protocols involved. At present, there is a distinct lack of understanding within the Business community as to the correct protocol.

A business using an OnSite drug testing device needs to ensure that a Compliance Certificate under AS 4308:2008 has been issued for that particular device. Users’ have the ability to know in approximately two minutes if an employee (including a subcontractor) is at risk of substance abuse. The drug testing device provides a presumptive or qualitative result indicating that the donor is at a level equal to or greater than the cut-off levels set out in AS4308.

By providing this result almost immediately, steps can be taken to stand down the employee believed to be at risk; or, move them sideways to a less sensitive activity, pending the confirmatory testing results of the specimen from a toxicology laboratory. Thereby helping to manage risk and complete the company’s OHS obligation.

To accuse or apportion blame on the basis of a presumptive result is erroneous. In fact terminology should be used indicating "non-negative", rather than "positive". It is not until the result is received from the Toxicology Lab indicating a quantitative result – i.e a specific amount of the substance in question that has been measured in nonograms/ml is the sample considered a ‘Positive’ result.

The inference that a result provided by an on-site drug testing device is the end result or final judgement is incorrect. Action should only be taken on results following GC/MS measurement.

Should any legal action eventuate in a tribunal or commission hearing, it is the results provided by the GC/MS results supplied by a Toxicology Laboratory that is used as evidence. While compliant OnSite drug testing devices play an important, integral role in identifying those employees who may be at risk, any decision in respect to further employment should only be made on the basis of the formal toxicology report.

By using the OnSite drug testing devices in this manner, risk is managed and fairness is displayed to all employees’ who are subject to workplace drug testing. Failure to recognise the two steps and implement this protocol may lead to unfair results.

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