With the potential risks and hazards miners face daily, maintaining safety at the workplace is paramount. This is why drug testing is a common practice in most workplaces, especially those that are safety-sensitive, such as the mining industry.
Drug test kits are commonly used to test employees at mining sites to ensure that none of the staff are working under the influence of drugs and alcohol. One reason for this to be true is the fact that there are not many verified saliva drug test kits available in the Australian market.
This is partly caused by the fact that the procurement to verify these drug test kits for compliance with Australian Standard AS4760:2019 is higher than that of urine drug test kits.
In this blog post, we’ll be discussing why oral drug test kits have become increasingly popular in the mining industry and recommend Australian Standard-compliant drug test kits to help improve the drug testing procedures within mining work sites.
Drug testing in mining sites
Due to the nature of their operations, mining companies face a unique set of challenges and risks. The harsh environments of mining sites and the operations that employees go through on a daily basis make drug and alcohol testing absolutely crucial.
Among some of the unique challenges posed by mining sites is the fact that many of these work sites are located in remote, geographically challenging locations. This remoteness can present logistical difficulties that further complicate the drug testing process.
Another challenge is the fact that mining involves heavy machinery and hazardous materials, any impairment caused by drugs can lead to catastrophic accidents. The long hours and irregular shift patterns can increase the risk of fatigue among workers. Putting them through strenuous and time-consuming drug testing procedures can only decrease morale and productivity.
Despite urine drug testing being an accurate way to measure the drug use of employees, it can often be time-consuming and take up resources and space. Below are some drawbacks of urine drug testing in mining sites:
Drawbacks of urine drug testing in mining sites
Despite many urine drug test kits from reputable brands being reliable and certified by Australian Standards, some drawbacks to using these tools are the challenges of sample collection, privacy concerns, longer detection windows, time consumption and evasion techniques, among others. Each of the pointers mentioned are explained in-depth below for your convenience and understanding.
Sample collection challenges
Collecting urine samples will require a dedicated toilet space with dyed toilet water to eliminate the possibility of urine being replaced by toilet water. A sample will need to be collected by the subject themself, and a testing official cannot be present during the collection process. Ensuring samples are collected promptly and securely can prove to be a challenge as the possibility of sample contamination is at risk.
Some individuals may find the process of depositing a urine sample invasive, which could lead to resistance or decreased cooperation.
Longer detection windows
Urine drug test kits tend to detect drug metabolites that could linger in urine samples for extended periods of time. This can lead to non-negative results of drug use that occurred outside of working hours and may not reflect impairment during the actual work shift.
LEARN MORE: Drug detection windows
Circumventing a urine drug test is easier than manipulating a saliva drug test kit. This is mainly due to the fact that during the urine collection process, test subjects can instead use synthetic urine made from chemicals that mimic urine or purchase a clean urine sample and bring it with them into the collection booth.
Time consumption and disruption
Implementing the process of urine drug testing can often take up resources, including manpower, space for the sample collection and, of course, time. This could potentially disrupt work processes, bringing about lower productivity.
Despite all these drawbacks, urine drug testing can still be a useful and effective way to detect drugs. However, in an industry where safety is paramount and time is of the essence, our professional opinion is one that prefers saliva drug testing to be used in mining sites as it can have a host of benefits, explained in the following section.
Advantages of saliva drug testing in mining sites
Some of the advantages of using oral drug test kits in mining sites include the ease of implementation, cost-effectiveness, the detection of recent drug use, and increased supervision, among others. An explanation of the pointers can be seen below.
Ease of implementation
Using an oral or saliva drug test kit is easier than using a urine drug test kit. The testing official simply needs to remove the collection swab from the device and let the swab sit in the test subject’s mouth until soaked in saliva. This usually takes no more than five minutes. The swab is then reinserted into the collection cup, and the results will be displayed shortly afterwards.
Saliva testing using the DrugSense DSO8 Plus oral drug test kit costs less than other urine drug test kits on the Andatech catalogue and has been verified to comply with Australian Standards AS 4760:2019. The fact that this method is cheaper than other test kits and is easier to administer, it can be administered more often. This also makes the use of resources more efficient.
Supervision and safety
Unlike urine drug test kits, saliva drug test kits are conducted in the presence of a supervisor. This makes the test less likely to be manipulated and also reduces the risk of any contamination.
Detection of recent drug use
Saliva drug test kits are known to detect recent drug use and not drug use from a longer period. This helps make testing more accurate and does not penalise employees for using substances outside of working hours and premises.
DrugSense DSO8 Plus saliva drug test kit for mining sites
The DrugSense DSO8 Plus saliva drug test kit is an advanced drug and alcohol testing solution that can be a crucial tool in preventing accidents and improving safety within mining sites and other safety-sensitive workplaces.
Some distinct advantages of this drug testing kit can be seen below:
Compliance with industry standards
Unlike many other saliva or oral drug test kits, the DSO8 Plus has been verified to comply with the latest Australian Standards AS4760:2019. This latest update confirms that the drug test kit detects drug groups at the specified cut-off levels for more efficient drug testing.
Detection of eight major drug groups and alcohol
The DrugSense DSO8 Plus is able to detect amphetamines, cocaine, benzodiazepines, methamphetamines, marijuana, opiates, synthetic cannabis and oxycodone. The drug test kit also detects alcohol.
Detection of synthetic marijuana
Despite not being included in the Australian Standards guidelines, this testing kit is able to detect synthetic marijuana, a commonly abused drug that is not usually detected by many other drug testing kits.
From here, it can be seen that urine drug test kits are accurate and reliable at detecting the use of drugs among employees. Despite this, they can be tedious to implement and less efficient compared to oral drug test kits. In a workplace like that of a mining site, time is of the essence, and the optimal use of resources can be the difference in preventing an accident.
Using oral drug test kits in mining sites is known to be more efficient and can prevent any manipulation due to increased supervision, with a drug testing officer being present during the process at all times.
The DrugSense DSO8 Plus is the ideal oral drug detection kit to help detect any recent use of drugs and alcohol at the workplace, preventing any accidents from happening.
Andatech offers a wide range of urine and oral drug test kits that are compliant with Australian Standards AS4760, giving your organisation an added safety value and safety officers peace of mind during operations. Browse through our catalogue of drug and alcohol testing solutions, including breathalysers.
Feel free to reach out to us any time for consultation, on-site testing, or product recommendations for the best tool to use at your workplace or at home.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general reference only. Please seek advice from professionals according to your business’s needs.
Written by Wafi Rashid