Workplace alcohol and drug testing

OHS Professional has an article, which from the heading, “Workplace alcohol and drug testing: the long winding road” suggests there might be some valuable information about drug testing (methods/procedures etc). We all know that consultation and education needs to be a strong focus of any ADP. The article tells us this, and tells us about the social and economic costs relating to alcohol and drugs – which we also know. When it comes to testing – the article provides one sentence – the last one – “It is important to note that drug and alcohol testing is not a panacea to improving safety standards in the workplace, but could be one small piece of the jigsaw.” It also mentioned a case where Linfox did not train staff in the policy and had a terminated employee reinstated.

Why is it that testing is not given any focus! I agree that consultation and education are important, but I also believe that testing is an important part of the jigsaw, especially when driving and heavy machinery are part of workplace activities. In my experience, it is very difficult to get a testing procedure off the ground. The literature available does not help,  testing never seems to be encouraged. Has anyone seen a good article that tells you the good side of testing, and how to implement it. Or do you have any comments on this topic?

At last, some help for Fair Work Australia! Drug and Alcohol Testing in teh workplace may become a little easier not that it is clear that it does not need to be supported by a statement in a collective agreement

Wagstaff Piling Pty Ltd; Thiess Pty Ltd v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union [2011] FWAFB 6892

Fair Work Australia has confirmed the importance of  employers requiring drug and alcohol testing for their workers by finding that a collective agreement that did not allow for drug and alcohol testing could not prohibit the employer from requiring testing.

“The silence of an industrial agreement on the issue of drug and alcohol testing or other safety initiatives does not limit an
employer’s capacity to issue lawful and reasonable directions to employees including to submit to drug and alcohol testing. Rather, whether the instruction is lawful and reasonable will depend on all the surrounding circumstances including whether the employee has agreed to submit to such testing (for example, in his or her contract of employment or in a separate declaration).” Tamvakologos, Michael  Partner, Saeedi, Shamim  Senior Associate, George Carla  Lawyer Blake Dawson and Waldren

For full article see http://www.blakedawson.com/Templates/Publications/x_publication_content_page.aspx?id=63923

Another recent case:

Sacking for failed alcohol test ‘harsh and unfair’ : tribunal

Date: 2/11/2011

Link for info:  http://www.vecci.org.au/news/Pages/Sacking_for_failed_alcohol_test_harsh_and_unfair-tribunal.aspx?utm_source=Informz&utm_medium=eDM&utm_campaign=eDM

 

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