There is an ongoing debate about the use of drug testing in the workplace. Those in favour say it reduces risk and accidents in the workplace - while those against say it can be an imposition on workers’ private lives.
Obviously it is important to have a happy medium - and with the increasing use of ‘oral fluid’ testing (through saliva) to check for drugs in the system - employers can now find out within minutes if a person has drugs in his or her system.
One of the most popular of these oral drug-testing units is the Dräger DrugCheck® 3000. Available in Perth through Pacific Safety Wear, the Dräger unit can check individuals for up to five substance classes simultaneously - cocaine, opiates, amphetamine, methamphetamine, and cannabis (THC).
Cannabis is the most commonly consumed drug - with THC one of the most difficult of all compounds to identify - the Dräger DrugCheck® 3000 has been optimised to detect THC.
The compact and quick oral-fluid based drug test yields reliable results - and offers two measurement options: fast or sensitive.
The Dräger DrugCheck® 3000 also can also be used anywhere as it does not require mains power. Obtaining samples is quick and easy through fast and sensitive analysis – and it provides unambiguous, on-the-spot drug detection.
Dräger Safety Drug Testing Product Manager Stefan Hildebrandt, said although his company manufactured mainly oral fluid drug testing devices - there was still justification for both saliva and urine types of testing in industrial workplaces.
“For example, in pre-employment situations, urine testing is best because it affords the employer a window into the lifestyles of prospective employees,” Hildebrandt said.
“And since urine testing detects metabolites, which stay in the body long after the effect of the drug has worn off, it can be useful in identifying and screening out potential risk-takers from your workforce.”
He added that the main advantage of oral fluid testing was that it detected the parent drug or active ingredient causing the impairment. Therefore, he said, this technique was usually best for the detection of current consumption of drugs - and if the subject was impaired at the time.
Another advantage of oral testing is that it is fast, accurate, non-intrusive, and can be witnessed throughout the entire process - thus eliminating the possibility of tampering.
The advantage of urine testing is that it can identify if the subject has taken drugs days, or even weeks, earlier.
Hildebrandt added that an Australian Standard for oral fluid drug testing was introduced in 2006 and since then, the oral fluid drug testing has become a mainstream screening process for many organisations.
Dräger’s Stefan Hildebrandt added that a big factor in the uptake of oral fluid drug testing had been its acceptance by the unions. He said the unions recognised its focus was on impairment rather than just the detection of drug-use, and that it was therefore not judgmental of workers’ lifestyles outside of work hours.
“It is also much easier to conduct than urine testing - and far less invasive,” Hildebrandt said.
“This is significant, because the integrity of the entire testing process must be maintained.”
He added that one of the more challenging issues with oral fluid drug testing in the past had been its subjective nature.
“Early devices required the testing officer to assess the test strip to determine it’s reading,” Hildebrandt said.
“This was especially critical with borderline readings - where the officer was under pressure to make a call in front of employees.
“Recent technologies have produced electronic readers that assess samples far more accurately - and relieve the officer of having to make that judgment call.”
Pacific Safety Wear of Malaga stock a full range of safety equipment, footwear and clothing, and also provide employers with an extensive range of drug and alcohol-testing equipment; including the Dräger DrugCheck® 3000. The company has a long reputation for reliability and affordability and been servicing Western Australia industry for more than 20 years.