Drug and Alcohol Testing

Health / 21 November 2018
Drug and Alcohol Testing

In our recent seminar series, we discussed drug and alcohol testing.  This article outlines things to consider in deciding whether a testing regime is right for your workplace.

When creating an effective drug and alcohol policy, a raft of legislation must be considered to limit the impact on individual rights and freedoms so far as possible in relation to testing for drug and alcohol.  A clear drug and alcohol policy is crucial, to ensure it is enforceable, and testing must be carried out strictly in line with the policy.

Before implementing a policy, employers need to consider:

Purpose of testing

Why do you need to test?  The specific risks in your specific workplace will determine whether you should conduct testing at all, and inform the types of testing.

Type of testing

Types of testing include pre-employment, reasonable cause, random, post-incident/accident and follow up.  Whether all (or any!) of these is necessary will depend on the type of work you do, as a starting point, and the risks you’re looking to manage.

Who will conduct testing

It is important to use qualified testers, and to consider the associated ongoing cost and administration of testing before committing to and notifying your employees that you will be undertaking a testing programme.

Employee consent?

While agreement to introducing a policy is not necessarily crucial, depending on your employment terms, consultation with employees/relevant unions is necessary  in implementing any new policy.  Employee consent to each test is also required, and the policy needs to address what happens if a test is refused.

Employee privacy

Ensuring the privacy of employee information collected is important and should be addressed in the policy.


Will you support rehabilitation, recognising  that drug and alcohol addiction is  treatable?  Retaining discretion around this is recommended.

Fixed Price Offer – Drug & Alcohol Policy

Until 30 November 2018, we are offering a fixed price on reviewing your current drug and alcohol policy for $400 (plus GST and disbursements), or for a new policy and advice for $800 (plus GST and disbursements) which is a significant reduction in the cost. Please see the attached offer to find out more or alternatively please contact us by telephone on 07 577 8662 or email admin@copelandashcroft.co.nz.

For advice on creating and/or implementing drug and alcohol policies and managing the risks around hazards caused by drugs and alcohol in your workplace, please contact us.

Disclaimer: We remind you that while this article provides commentary on employment law and health and safety topics, it should not be used as a substitute for legal or professional advice for specific situations.  Please seek legal advice from your lawyer for any questions specific to your workplace.

November 2018

Back to News and Publications