DRUG SAFETY CONCERNS FOR MINERS

According to a recent survey, recreational drug use is on the rise among employees, causing resources employers to seek new ways to mitigate the impact of this increase.

During July and August 2016, the AMMA conducted an anonymous survey of 53 Australian resource employers to collate information on the latest drug and alcohol testing policies and procedures.

The AMMA Drug and Alcohol Testing Survey 2016 gathered results across all resources sub sectors including oil and gas, maritime, construction, metalliferous and coal mining, mineral processing, and exploration.

As Australia’s national resource industry employer group, AMMA members span the entire resources value chain.

ZERO TOLERANCE

Out of the employers surveyed, 65 per cent had a zero-tolerance approach to drugs and alcohol in the workplace. Meanwhile, 26 per cent of employers took a harm minimisation tactic, which involves reviewing each situation on a case-by-case basis.

The most popular workplace screening method was urine testing with 90 per cent of respondents using this form of detection. The second most common was breath testing with 88 per cent of employers stating this was used at mine sites across Australia. Less popular was saliva testing with 41 per cent of employers claiming they used this practise.

COMBATTING THE PROBLEM

Numerous employers stated increased prescription and illicit drug use in society had posed a challenge in the workplace.

With capacity difficulties to increase testing of workers, some employers have resorted to boosting education and encouraging employees to positively manage their lifestyles at home.

drugs-in-mining

Employers also stated consistent disciplinary outcomes had been implemented, as well as ensuring contractors were drug tested along with permanent staff.

Although not perfect solutions to the problem, AMMA claims the survey information can be used by its members to compare processes and protocols.

Additionally, the industry body said it would factor the results into its future lobbying and advocacy.

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