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From 16 October 2015 the new Building Code requires mandatory drug and alcohol testing of workers on government funded construction sites. The amended code (Schedule 2-3) stipulates the use of an "objective medical testing method" (ruling out field sobriety testing), to help ensure that no person attending the site to perform building work does so "under the influence of alcohol or other drugs" (ruling out urine testing). Yet, the FWBC fact sheet states: "There is no mandatory form of testing. Urine testing and saliva testing are both permitted." Further, the WHS&R management plan must address how a person who returns a positive (oral fluid) test result will be prevented from performing work until they can prove they are fit to return to work. SOLUTION: Simply adopt the NADATA Code, applying oral fluid testing for SAFETY assessments at work and urine testing for HEALTH assessments off work. See Detection Windows for more details and here is the link to the new FWBC app.


Nov 2014: To add chaos to confusion, the Fair Work Commission [2014] FWCFB 7889 contradicts two Australian Standards and rules in support of a new interpretation of "random swab testing", which "does not preclude the use of urine testing for the confirmatory test"... A scenario that involves two vastly different specimens, where the drug level indicated in an oral fluid based on-site screen is somehow to be confirmed in a urine based laboratory test... the equivalent of having an initial saliva (or breath) alcohol reading confirmed in urine... This totally meaningless malpractice is a violation of all scientific principles and drug testing standards in the USA (SAMHSA and DOT), Europe (UK and EWDTS) and Australia (AS/NZS 4308 and AS 4760). There is no justification for a workplace to deviate from scientific and legally defensible principles, and there is no need for a Full Bench to bend over backwards to lend support to inferior methods mixing two Australian Standards half-and-half. Especially, when a superior application of both standards in their entirety has already been established in the NADATA Code, where you will also find the answer to the "urine v oral fluid" question.


May 2014: Although NATA has dismissed the flawed, 2006 oral fluid standard for on-site testing, it is still being upheld by Standards Australia and SAI Global. To add insult to injury, the dormant committee behind the standard does not see any need for an "urgent amendment". Regardless of NATA raising the alarm at a FACTA Symposium in 2010, and a five-year rule review due in 2011, Standards Australia have done absolutely nothing to fix their faulty standard, which is still being sold as if in perfect working order... A somewhat dubious practice you would not expect from a standard-setting body and a far cry from their official Code of Conduct. Always "notify Standards Australia immediately of any apparent inaccuracies" - as it may well take them 10 years to rectify their so-called "living documents". A damning demonstration of neglect and failure to deliver ethical and credible standards. Meanwhile, with providers, employers and unions in limbo, the dysfunctional standard has contributed to a number of inconsistent and inexplicable rulings in the Fair Work Commission (being "all over the place" according to AMMA). July 2013: Accreditation of on-site drug testing of oral fluid (AS 4760, Section 3) is suspended by NATA due to significant technical issues with the standard. Inevitably, this will trigger a long overdue revision of AS 4760-2006.


May 2013: Medvet regains accreditation for on-site drug testing of urine but is still making false and misleading "Oral7" claims. Feb 2013: Medvet Science, trading as Medvet Laboratories, is only a laboratory by name, and the AS/NZS 4308 accredited laboratories Medvet "owns and operates" are science fiction. Australia's leading provider is no longer NATA accredited for any testing purposes, and their “Oral7” testing device is neither certified nor compliant with AS 4760. So, if you are one of the 100,000 persons being tested by Medvet, you may wish to check the status of your drug testing program with your supervisor or union delegate. July 2012: Medvet has been found in breach of the Privacy Act 1988 by the Commissioner, who found that the accessibility of address information on the internet constituted unlawful disclosure of personal information. The Commissioner concluded that Medvet did not have reasonable steps in place to protect personal information.


Feb 2012: After 25 years of showing promise, the first oral fluid based on-site drug test has been found "fit for purpose" in accordance with AS 4760 by a NATA accredited laboratory. See the new TOXsure test from Drug Test Australia. In the USA, Oratect has become the first FDA cleared oral based on-site test. Check all products and providers in the Drug Testing Register.


Fair Work Australia declares urine drug testing "unjust and unreasonable" and to be replaced with oral fluid testing. Decision appealed by Endeavour Energy and dismissed by FWA Full Bench. FWA also ruled that employees should not have to disclose personal information about prescription medication unless and until they have returned a confirmed positive drug test. [2012] FWA 1809 and [2012] FWAFB 4998

FWA upholds mining contractor’s right to conduct on-site based urine drug tests of coal miners: 1) Rapid oral fluid tests are inaccurate, especially in regards to detecting cannabis. 2) The current Australian Standard for oral fluid testing (AS 4760) only stipulates recommended target concentrations, and does not involve testing for benzodiazepines. 3) On-site urine screening is more likely to pick up chronic and regular users or cannabis, even though they may not be impaired on the day of the test (sic). [2011] FWA 82888

NSW Industrial Relations Commission (NSWIRC) upholds transport company's right to conduct on-site based urine drug tests of truck drivers, as there are no accredited products or providers available for conducting on-site based oral fluid testing. [2010] NSWIRComm 1068

Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) Full Bench affirms that oral fluid drug testing is to replace urine drug testing at Shell refinery - when laboratories have been NATA accredited to the oral fluid drug testing standard and the standard incorporates Benzodiazepines - as oral fluid testing is less intrusive and more impairment orientated[2009] AIRCFB 428 and [2008] AIRC 510

FWA approves random drug and alcohol testing - for safety-critical employees only - at Caltex refinery, given the dangerous environment and potentially catastrophic consequences of an incident or accident. FWA emphasises however that this decision is not an automatic entitlement for other employers. [2009] FWA 424


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Four laboratories have been NATA accredited to the AS 4760 oral fluid drug testing standard: Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory in Sydney, Queensland Health in Brisbane, Racing Analytical Services in Melbourne and ChemCentre in Perth. There are still no oral fluid accreditations for performing on-site testing, but a few urine-based on-site testing kits and providers have been accredited to AS 4308. To protect your employees, and to ensure your program can withstand a legal challenge, you should always employ accredited products and providers. See complete listing - where Medvet has been delisted as laboratory (NATA, 10 December 2012).


The Drug and Alcohol Management Plan (DAMP) from Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is Australia’s most advanced workplace program. Being the first government authority to employ oral fluid drug testing, CASA is establishing Medical Review Officer (MRO) competencies, training Alcohol & Other Drugs (AOD) supervisors, developing education and response programs, performing audits, compiling test results and providing videos, tips for cutting down and FAQ's. See DAMP program with policy template and MRO listing.

DAMP organisations (being or servicing airports or airlines) do not have to perform random testing and only have to test employees performing safety sensitive aviation activities (SSAA). For a bullet proof oral fluid drug testing program, you must have an accredited laboratory to perform both the initial, screening test and the confirmatory test, as there are still no accredited on-site testing providers. To supplement the laboratories, some collecting agencies have obtained accreditation for the collection and dispatch of oral fluid samples (Drug Test Australia, Fit4Duty, Frontline and Medvet).


See complete listing of all products and providers (accredited and non-accredited) in the Drug Testing Register.

You can make your own search for FDA cleared drug testing devices by filling in the "Device Name" you wish to check here: 510(k) Database.

For comparison of oral fluid drug testing devices, see evaluation studies.


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