As employers strive to make their workplaces safer for staff and visitors, one of the tools they turn to is drug and alcohol testing for employees. As part of our role supplying candidates for construction and labour jobs, Tradestaff is constantly looking at ways we can help to improve workplace health and safety. This drives our focus on ongoing training and education, and is the reason behind our decision to include drug and alcohol testing in our recruitment process. We thought it was worth taking a moment to explain why we do these tests, and how they contribute to the culture of health and safety we work to develop.
Why drug tests are important for construction and trade recruitment
The primary reason for drug testing is workplace safety. As Employment New Zealand explains, drug and alcohol abuse can lead to higher rates of accident and injury due to worker impairment. Poor judgment and carelessness lead to unnecessary risks, both for the employee who is under the influence, and for others around them.
Drug and alcohol abuse can lead to higher rates of accident and injury due to worker impairment.
It isn't just illegal drugs that can cause problems at work. Alcohol, and some prescription medications, will impair your ability to safely operate machinery or make sensible decisions.
The Canterbury Rebuild Safety Charter notes that the effect of alcohol or drug use goes beyond substances that are taken while at work. Drinking heavily the night before work can affect your performance just as being drunk on the job can. The lingering effects vary depending on the drug and the amount taken, but it's worth being aware that the risk is there.
Workplace health and safety is the responsibility of both employers and employees. For employers, this means giving their staff as much protection from risk as they reasonably can – including the risks caused by drug-fuelled, dangerous behaviour. For employees, it means acting safely and responsibly on work sites. Drug testing ensures that both parties are living up to their responsibilities.
They might seem like an imposition or an insult, but drug tests are for your benefit as much as they are for an employer. If something goes wrong on a worksite it can mean a financial loss for the business, but it could mean serious injury or death for the workers involved. This is why all health and safety precautions are so important, and why maintaining a clear head in potentially dangerous or high-risk situations is necessary at all times. WorkSafe New Zealand says that in a high-risk industry such as construction, staying physically and mentally alert is crucial. Drugs and alcohol, along with fatigue, make this more difficult.
How drug tests work
Most workplace drug testing involves urine testing. Urine tests detect a range of prescription and illegal drugs. The process can be completed within 10 to 15 minutes, and the results will be given to you straight away. If the test is positive, the urine sample gets sent away to a lab that can do more detailed tests on it. It's recommended that you drink plenty of water in the hour before you're tested to make sure you don't have any trouble giving a sample. Urine tests do not measure alcohol, but breath tests can be given at the same time to check for this.
According to the New Zealand Drug Foundation, drug tests don't measure your impairment, they determine whether you have particular substances in your body. This tells the tester that you have taken the drug within a certain period (that varies between substances).
If you're sensible about avoiding alcohol and drugs while working, then passing a drug test is a quick and easy event. Once you've received your results from the tester then there's nothing further to do. If you fail a drug test, you have the option to dispute the result. If further testing confirms the result, or you accept its findings, then it can lead to disciplinary actions or potentially dismissal.
Tradestaff's commitment to workplace health and safety
All workers should be able to go to work expecting to come back home safe at the end of the day.
All workers should be able to go to work expecting to come back home safe at the end of the day. Tradestaff believes that keeping our clients' workplaces free from the effects of drugs and alcohol is a crucial part of keeping these workplaces safe. This is why we test our recruits to make sure they are working with a clear head, and why we make education and continuing awareness around drug and alcohol use a focus in our health and safety training.
Tradestaff's business is pairing the right candidates with the right jobs. But it's also important to us that our candidates are going into workplaces that are as safe as possible, and that they are helping to contribute to the safety of everyone there. To join a team of that puts your safety first, get in touch with your local Tradestaff branch today.
almost 4 years ago by Will Percy