sad co-worker

5 January 2020 posted by Recovery Partners

What are employers’ obligations?

Employers have an obligation to provide a safe work environment; this can be supported by implementing drug and alcohol testing programs. In Australia, drug and alcohol abuse is one of the top risks to employees’ health and safety. When an employee is intoxicated, they pose a risk to themselves and also to other workers. In addition, the performance of such employees is affected.

As such, it makes sense for employers to implement policies in the workplace. However, this is not without controversy as some employees may perceive it as an interference in their private life. The lack of elaborate laws on drug and alcohol testing in the country further complicates things. Still, if an employee compromises workplace safety, testing can be justified on health and safety grounds depending on the nature of the work.

Incorporating employees in the testing process

Incorporating and discussing the issue with employees will help convince them that the process is just and reasonable. Look to educate all workers on the issue and involve them in drafting the company’s drug and alcohol policy.

Before carrying out a test on an employee, it’s important to obtain his/her consent even when the employment contract stipulates it. This will help maintain the employee’s morale helping maintain loyalty and productivity.

On the other hand, managers and supervisors should be adequately trained on when employees should be referred for a test. This will minimise unnecessary tests that can be easily interpreted by employees as a form of harassment.  Engage a professional service provider to ensure the process is smooth, leaving you with a safe workplace and a happy workforce.


At Recovery Partners, we provide on-site drug and alcohol testing. We are committed to helping companies navigate the process as smoothly as possible without infringing on their workers’ rights.

Our services are available in multiple locations nationwide. For more information on our services, contact us. 

Our consultants love to have a chat, so go ahead and give us a call on 1300 OHS RTW (647 789) or email

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Disclaimer – these articles are provided to supply general safety information to people responsible for OHS in their organisation. They are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs. Additional information can be found at