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Including his supervisor’s time at $25.00/hour, ACC estimate the cost of this particular accident based on the following: • Incident costs—$4950 • Investigation costs—$365 • Replacement costs—$310 • Productivity costs—$3545 • Total cost to business—$9170

Case Study 2: In a simple incident an employee (earning $25.00/hour) injures themselves by liſting with poor technique, straining their elbow and as a result not being able to carry on with their work and taking 3 days off. With the supervisor (earning $40.00/hour) also geting involved, the same ACC formula calculates the cost to the business as follows: • Incident costs—$870 • Investigation costs—$330 • Replacement cost—$980 • Productivity costs —$1160 • Total cost to business—$3340

Question: What is the level of investment required to implement a comprehensive drug testing program? Tese examples refer to very basic injuries only. Let’s now consider the costs of implementing a robust drug testing program to try and mitigate the risks of such incidents and the related costs. Te good news is that costs have substantially decreased over

recent years as technology has evolved. Te Australian/New Zealand (AS/NZS) 4308:2008 standard, which established procedures for specimen collections and the detection and quantitation of drugs of abuse in urine, was instrumental in allowing for accredited companies to be able to conduct on-site screening resulting in a more efficient process and less down time for the employer. On-site screening has resulted in lab costs being dramatically

reduced. In addition, the timely receipt of instant results (including negative results being produced on the spot) means that stand down periods have been reduced significantly. Te cost to the employer therefore relates primarily to the cost of the collection, materials, compliance management and technician’s time to conduct the test. For example, consider the tangible cost of a dedicated and

effective random testing program for a medium-sized company (40–60 employees): • Random selection of 8 drug and alcohol tests per month, based on one company’s standard rate, resulting in an average positive rate of 6% specimens requiring further lab analysis.

• Annual cost—$9,120 per annum or $95.00 per test. To compare this cost with case study 1 above, the point of breaking even is one minor accident resulting in a ‘prolapsed disc’.

Conclusion Workplace drug testing is an effective tool to prevent accidents within the workplace. There is extensive research available which states the benefits of introducing a testing regime, including reduced accidents and near misses, reduced absenteeism, increased productivity and reduced disciplinary actions. We stress that only a robust and approved drug testing program utilizing proper procedures and conducted in accordance with best commercial practice, will result in reduced accidents, improved safety, less down time, and lower costs to the employer. Today, management must ask the following questions:

• Does our company have an effectively managed drug testing program?

• Have we taken all practical and reasonable steps to ensure that we are fulfilling our obligations to our people, customers and society at large by providing a drug free working environment?

• Can a company afford not to introduce an effective drug testing program? ❚


Note 1. Under Australia’s new nationally harmonized Work Health Safety Laws there has recently been a prosecution of a Canberra Contractor who was fined $1.1million for safety breaches that led to a worker’s death.

Note 2. New Zealand’s Health and Safety At Work Act effective 4 April 2016 replaces the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 and the Machinery Act 1950. Recent prosecutions for manslaughter, aimed at Company Directors who demonstrate a failure to assess harm and risk, and a lack of conscious safety planning, highlight the challenges that managers will continue to face.

Note 3. To be able to perform on-site screening and prevent any allegations of discrimination, the testing provider must have ISO 15189-2012 accreditation and should be an independent service provider to be able to withstand legal scrutiny.

Note 4. With lab-based testing, the cost of confirmation testing is typically bundled together with the other services, whereas, with Point of Care Testing (POCT), most employers only choose to confirm drugs that cannot be excluded by the POCT test in which case, the cost of confirming a POCT result may mean a slightly higher rate, on a per-test basis.TDDA’s national positive rate based on over 100,000 tests average is 6%.

Kirk Hardy is the founder and CEO of The Drug Detection Agency (TDDA). Kirk, a former Police Detective with 10 years experience and having finished up serving on Drug Squad has been involved in numerous operations, investigating national and international drug dealing syndicates and targeting

organised crime groups. He left the Police in early 2005 and went establish The Drug Detection Agency as a pioneer for on-site testing service providers. Kirk has grown TDDA from a one-man operation in 2005 to now having established 42+ businesses operating under The Drug Detection Agency brand throughout Australia and New Zea- land. TDDA went on to achieve ISO 15189-2012 accreditation, being the first organization to achieve this in New Zealand in August 2010 and the fist to having received ISO 15189 in both New Zealand and Australia respectively. In 2012 Kirk was appointed a Board member of DATIA ‘Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association’.

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