DRUG-FREE WORKPLACES – Accredited service providers vs non-accredited service providers

In October 20194 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineNovember 11, 2019

When it comes to hiring a service provider, I always do two things: I check their track record and check their certifications and accreditations. While the first one is a no-brainer for most C-suite decision-makers, the second is often overlooked. Accredited professionals bring systems, processes and technologies to work that have been checked and vetted by independent, third-party organisations, governing bodies and other experts in their fields. Let me ask you this: if your kid‘s car needed new brakes would you prefer a mechanic or an MTAcertified mechanic? If your home needed rewiring would you prefer a handyman or a certified master electrician?

Using accredited professionals of any kind delivers long-term financial value as well as protecting a business and its reputation. The primary focus of a workplace drug-testing company should be on testing people and maintaining safe working environments. In our experience, when a workplace drug test fails, a business must deal with one of three outcomes:
• A drug or alcohol affected employee remains on the job, increasing the risk of injury or even a death in the workplace.
• A false test means a clean employee receives disciplinary action, and the company may be exposed to legal proceedings.
• An incident has happened, and the test, tester, and the testing processes will not withstand a legal challenge.

No business wants to be in any of these situations, which is why any workplace drug testing company must be independently accredited by International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) under ISO 15189:2012 accreditation for workplace drug testing. If the company also operates across the Tasman, it should also be certified in Australia under National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia (NATA). The ISO 15189:2012 accreditation, which is externally audited, also denotes that the medical laboratories meet rigorous national and international standards in quality management and competence. What all that means is that when a workplace drug tester screens for drugs and takes a sample in New Zealand or Australia, everything it does is by the book and meets the necessary standards to ensure its tests, processes, and the technologies used to carry them out, deliver the best results in the industry. Accreditation means the delivery of industryleading testing, results, and a product that will hold up if lawyers get involved.

At TDDA accreditation is taken extremely seriously and the association has urged government action for the regulation and accreditation of testers nationwide. There‘s no room for low-grade, error-prone testing devices. There‘s no room for poor policies that can expose a person to false testing results, breaches of privacy, and the potential for loss of work or income. There‘s no room for cowboy operators in this industry, and businesses should avoid them – or risk financial and reputational damage.

It‘s worth noting that Rod Dale, group technical manager, TDDA, and Armin Kiani, chief toxicologist, TDDA-Omega Laboratories, were part of the New Zealand, Australian standards committee that updated the 2019 Detection of Drugs in Oral Fluids standard (AS/NZS 4760- 2006) to the new 2019 version. TDDA is also happy to say that since the release of the new Oral Fluids standard in March 2019, it‘s received a number of enquiries into the technology and how it can assist companies achieve better outcomes from their testing programmes. Accreditations and certifications equate to quality testing processes and reliable, accurate, ethical and competent drug testers who are committed to helping keep New Zealand workplaces safer.