drug and alcohol tests

Be alert and safe at work

Employers have a responsibility to ensure a safe working environment for their staff.

Employees have a responsibility to be physically and mentally fit to perform their duties, and not under the influence of substances which may impair their ability to work. This can include prescribed medications, alcohol and illicit drugs.

Some companies have employment contracts that include the ability of the employer to require an employee to submit a test for alcohol and illicit substances. 

The "Guidance note - Alcohol and other drugs at the workplace" applies to workplaces covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (OSH Act). It has information relevant for employers and employees about alcohol and drugs at work. 

The guide is 32 pages, downloaded in pdf format, and contains excellent information, presented in a easily readable format.  This well considered and sensible approach to this important area contains all the relevant links to OSH legislation, along with commonsense tips.

Please note that documents issued prior to 1 July 2017 were administered by the former Department of Commerce, and earlier versions may be referenced by request to: Online@dmirs.wa.gov.au.

Employees who are under the influence of substances at work are a risk to themselves and others. It is important that employers can identify when this occurs, hence the introduction of alcohol and drug tests in the workplace.  

It is embarrassing for a worker to be caught under the influence of substances, but it is a better outcome to be caught than being involved in a serious accident. Where employees are found to have a problem with substance or alcohol abuse, it creates the opportunity for them to receive the help they need.  There are many rehabilitation providers.  WORKWELL has health professionals skilled in mental health treatments, including management of alcohol and drug addictions. 

The provision of random alcohol and drug tests ensures safety in the workplace, which is of particular importance in the oil and gas industry, and where employees are operating machinery. 

Additional information is available from Safework Australia:



What substances can be tested?

The common drugs of abuse are cannabis (marijuana), alcohol, methamphetamines, amphetamines and other stimulants, opiates, and cocaine. We have a comprehensive range of alcohol and drug screening tests, which can be undertaken in our Fremantle based practice or at the workplace. Screening tests are collected under direct supervision.

How long does it take before drugs are no longer detectable in the body?

This is a common question.  It depends on many factors. Substances are detectable in bodily fluids commonly between one and five days following use, but it may be for several weeks in heavy consumers.  Drugs may be detectable in hair samples for a longer period of time than bodily fluids.  Frequent consumption of marijuana can lead to significant drug stores in the body's fat, which may result in bodily fluids testing positive for cannabis for weeks following the last use.  The laboratory has a cut-off level for reporting positive results. This is to avoid accidental positive testing due to extremely low levels, such as minimal exposure due to very light passive smoking of marijuana. 

The vast number of synthetic cannabinoids and illicit substance has increased in recent times.  We work with the support of Western Diagnostic Pathology to provide high quality and dedicated testing for numerous substances. 

Where a screening test is positive, the sample is sent for further testing clarification.  Tests can be taken on urine, blood and salivary samples. 

How long does it take to get a result?

We work towards rapid turn-around times.

Additional information about pathology testing for drugs of abuse is available from our pathology provider:  Western Diagnostic Pathology.