Frontline Diagnostics, a leading workplace drug testing agency is planning on tackling drugs in the workplace by setting up on the spot drug testing clinics in Mudgee and Bathurst.
According to the company who recently issued a statement about its plans, drug testing will be increased in west and northwest coalfields in New South Wales in an effort to tackle the scourge of drugs on the worksite. The group also recently opened a drug testing clinic in Boggabri.
The company is currently conducting assessments to determine the need for more clinics to be opened which will be able to test visitors to mine sites including tradespeople. Managing director Michael White was recently quoted as saying:
“The clinics will predominantly test mine site visitors such as tradespeople who do not have an up-to-date testing certificate, but will also test samples collected at local mines as part of normal ongoing drug testing,” said Mr White.
White goes on to explain that because of the increase in drug use in Oz as is evident because of the increase in cases of drug related arrests, there is a need for more of these testing clinics.
A recent report from the Mudgee Guardian highlighted information obtained from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research which detailed the increase in drug offences in the Mid-Western Region in the year leading up to December 2013.
White went on to explain:
“The recent increase in drug related arrests in this country suggests that drug use is increasing sharply, a fact supported by the recently released Crime Commission statistics. This is of particular concern for mine management as we expect a coinciding increase in the number of mine workers and visitors who test positive,” said Mr White.
“Mines can be dangerous workplaces at the best of times, but when employees are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the risk of accident, injury or worse can be dramatically increased,” Mr White said.
White explains that most people who take drugs go to work, at least 75 per cent and when it comes to mining and construction fields these people are engaging in dangerous activities such as operating heavy machinery. Engaging in high risk work with the added danger of being high on illicit drugs is reckless and careless because it also poses a risk to others on site. That is why it is so important to eliminate the risk of drugs in the workplace, to minimise the chance of injury. White explains that with this in mind many Australian mines have already established drug safety programs to tackle this scourge.
“Currently about 70 percent of Australia’s mines have drug-safe workplace programs in place following the introduction of the Mine Health and Safety Act in 2004. The Act stipulates that mines should introduce a policy, or at least address the issue of drugs in the workplace,” he said.
“In our experience, mines with proper drug-safe workplace policy and regular drug testing have about four percent of their staff testing positive to drug and alcohol screening. This is in comparison to 17 to 20 percent for mines which have not introduced a policy or testing. These mines attract drug users because staff are generally aware of which mines do not enforce a policy.”
Mining construction sites, and in fact any construction site usually involves a number of people working simultaneously on high risk tasks, usually with potentially dangerous machinery which in itself is a risk. It is difficult enough to maintain a safe site without the added threat of drugged workers to make sites more dangerous.