Occupational Safety and Health in Australia

Breathalyser, Workplace Drug Test, Chain Of CustodyOccupational safety and health is critical to any business irrespective of size. Large business houses usually have adequate budgets and staff to specifically deal with occupational safety. Small businesses however, tend to bypass the issue of occupational safety and health. When it comes to Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace, the argument put forth by small business owners generally runs along the lines of “I have only twelve employees, I know each of them, and they are not drug and alcohol abusers”.1

On the face of it, the small business owners’ argument against Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace seems logical and fair enough. However, it is equally true that for a disaster to strike, all it takes is one member of the staff to be under slight influence of alcohol or drugs or both – just once2.

Just a schooner or two?

A schooner or two of beer prior to the job or a few swigs of whisky from a small flask during the job usually does not show any outwardly signs for most employees. However, alcohol concentration in the blood beyond the legal limits does cause serious impairment in the functioning of the person.

The person under influence of alcohol or drugs is slow to think and slower still in his muscle co-ordination. Most small business owners seem to think that the staff member who is slow in thought and slow in his work, is so because he or she was born that way. That there may be another reason at play somehow escapes their notice. Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace would have easily detected any member of the staff who might have ingested alcohol or drugs3.

Every staff member has a right to work in a safe environment. Staff members who might be under influence of alcohol or drugs essentially violate the right to safety and make the workplace a dangerous place. Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace is not just about safety.

Think about it – if a co-worker is injured at work and the injury was caused because another worker was drunk, as a business owner, you could have a serious lawsuit on your hands. The injured worker can easily argue that his right to occupational safety was violated by the co-worker and by the business owner who failed to prevent the violation. The economic costs and damages from a single alcohol or drug related incident alone could be ruinous4.


Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace is an economically viable proposition. All it takes is for the business owner(s) to implement an employment and workplace safety policy using guidelines stipulated by the government. Further, the equipment used for Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace too needs to be certified and accredited. All this does not cost much and is certainly cheaper than the cost of a single accident.

Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace also makes sense from the quality point of view. Every employer is entitled to the best from his staff. The business clients too are entitled to the best possible value for their money. Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace is one of the way of ensuring quality and safety5.

You can source quality testing devices from CMM Technology. +618 1300 79 70 30.

Footnotes and references:

1. Occupational safety and health: http://australia.gov.au/topics/health-and-safety/occupational-health-and-safety

2. Small business owners’ resistance to alcohol testing: http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/small/Sm-Z/Workplace-Safety.html

3. Effects of alcohol and drugs at the workplace: http://www.acde.org/employer/DAwork.htm

4. Economic costs of alcohol and drugs at the workplace: http://www.alcoholinfo.nsw.gov.au/workforce_capacity/safe_workplace

5. How to Create a Drug and Alcohol Policy: http://www.inc.com/guides/drug-and-alcohol-policy.html

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