Police blitz comes up clean
Tuesday 17 January 2017
Police drug testing this week in the coalfields would appear to debunk the ever popular idea that the mining sector is awash with drug users.
Over two days, drug testing officers from Brisbane conducted more than 70 roadside random drug tests around Moranbah, with no drivers found to be under the influence of drugs.
Detective Sergeant Martin Ziebarth said the results were encouraging and represent a major improvement on 12 months ago.
“Moranbah has come a long way in the past 18 months with previous testing detecting nine positive tests in two days,” he said.
“Moranbah Detectives and uniformed officers will continue to work to achieve these results and keep our roads and community safe.”
Late last year the Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) surveyed 53 resource companies about their management of drugs in the workplace.
Notable among the findings were that 65 percent of respondents had a zero tolerance of drugs and alcohol at work, while 25 percent took a “harm minimisation” approach.
According to the survey results, roughly 90 percent of testing at mine sites involves urine or breath sampling, while around 40 percent of respondents also used saliva samples.
AMMA’s director of workplace relations, Amanda Mansini said the increased prevalence of drug use in broader society was having an impact.
“Despite most resource employers recording low instances of positive or non-negative tests, convincing employees to make sensible lifestyle choices outside the workplace remains a significant challenge in managing the potential impact of drugs and alcohol,” she said.
“It’s also telling that at least 50 percent of respondents reported that employment laws and union opposition have impacted on their ability to implement the drug and alcohol testing policy of their choice.
“The results back AMMA’s longstanding position that as the people responsible for creating a safe work environment, employers and site managers must be supported in choosing the drug and alcohol testing policies and procedures that they deem most suitable for their individual workplaces.”Among the biggest challenges identified by the survey for monitoring drugs around mines were the use of masking agents or ‘fake’ urine samples, the impact of prescription medicines, and the legality and practicality of taking saliva samples.
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