DRUGS AND ALCOHOL – A CALL FOR SELF-TESTING

Bryan Evans
Organiser

Every single railway worker is aware that you need to be 0.0 whilst at work, it has been no secret. If there is a single thing that the RTBU and the company agrees on it is that no one should be at work whilst impaired by drugs or alcohol. It is a risk to yourself, your workmates and your employment.

Like any OHS hazard, it is risk assessed and in part managed by various testing regimes as prescribed by the rail safety act. There are typically 4 methods in which a member may be tested:

  • Upon commencement of employment or as prescribed by the category of medical required for your position.
  • A site wide random test, where members are often employed to choose who will and will not be tested.
  • A member is showing signs of impairment identified by somebody who is trained to do so.
  • After an incident in the workplace.

Unfortunately a large number of members who turn up positive tests, haven’t nicked off to the pub for lunch, but rather have had drinks the previous night and woke up with no reason to believe they were impaired by alcohol. If we can all agree that we do not want people affected by drugs and alcohol at work, why then do we not add the appropriate levels of control as we would any other safety risk.

If drug and alcohol testing is truly about minimising risk and all about safety, then surely adding another level of control in the form of discreet self-testing facilities at all rail workplaces would give our members the information required to make an educated decision and remove themselves from site before starting work and creating a risk for themselves and others.

Many companies in rail provide them, it’s time for others like Metro and V/Line to get on board.

In the meantime, if you are unsure if you are fit for duty, take sick leave, that is what it is there for, do not run the gauntlet.