MANDATORY DRUG TESTING ON CONSTRUCTION SITES
Written on the 27 October 2011
FAIR Work Australia’s (FWA) decision to introduce mandatory drug and alcohol testing for building workers is overdue, according to a Robina-based employment lawyer.
Brett Wilson of Aitken Wilson Lawyers says the Gold Coast’s drug and alcohol problems have spread to construction sites.
“The combination of drugs or alcohol and heavy industrial equipment is a fatality waiting to happen,” says Wilson.
“Employers face stiff fines if they breach workplace safety regulations and the industry’s push for mandatory drug testing will help minimise risk.”
FWA’s ruling comes after examining a dispute involving a Victorian road worker who refused to take a drug test, despite the employer having the practice in place for more than one year.
“There’s no place for drug or alcoholaffected workers around Gold Coast workplaces and this ruling gives employers some clout,” says Wilson.
“Workers who refuse a test can be dismissed because FWA has, in effect, already ruled it’s their fault if they refuse the test.”
Wilson says the FWA decision will encourage more employers to carry out drug and alcohol testing.
“Employers want to tighten the safety rules because if someone is injured or killed, the employer cops the blame and the penalties,” he says.