Drugs and alcohol testing keeps staff safe

The City of Gold Coast has introduced a proactive alcohol and drugs testing procedure for all staff and selected contractors.

The program, Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD), is intended as a supporting structure in managing alcohol and narcotics related issues in the workplace.

AOD testing procedure and case management assists in the management of risks towards people’s health and safety in the workplace, associated with the inappropriate use of alcohol and/or other drugs.

Training, education and possible rehabilitation underpins the AOD program for Council in managing possible misuse of alcohol and other drugs. Council’s established program of testing and case management also supports: worker education about the effects of alcohol and other drugs on people; worker understanding towards fit for work and being free of alcohol or other drugs; and improved knowledge and identification of people’s duty of care towards being unfit for work.

“This procedure applies to all workers including Council employees, temporary staff, engaged labour hire and trainees,’’ said Chief Executive Officer Dale Dickson.

“AOD procedure also extends to Council-sponsored events and functions unless an exemption has been approved, allowing the responsible consumption of alcohol.’’

During December 2016, in excess of 206 people were tested with only two people recording positive alcohol results, with no positive test for drugs.

Between December 2016 and February 2017, a pilot AOD program is in place providing Council with an opportunity to fine-tune the AOD testing process. The pilot program, when concluded in March this year, will become common practice across the organisation.

“Of those two positive results, (at commencement of work) both were low range readings with one under 0.05BAC and the other slightly over,” said Chief Operating Officer Joe McCabe.

“However, given both people were working on a zero tolerance alcohol high risk worksite they were unfit for work. Council subsequently arranged independent transport for the people to their home.”

Testing is random and those found positive will be placed on an AOD Management Plan during the pilot period  (mandatory from March 2017), which provides tailored support to the individual with agreed activities and key milestones to be undertaken by the employee as part of their rehabilitation.

The AOD Management Plan is developed by Council’s People and Culture team in consultation with the manager or responsible line leader and employee.

“Council recognises some workers may require treatment and/or support for alcohol and/or other drug related issues,’’ said Mr. McCabe.

“Rehabilitation and support is offered to Council (temporary or permanent) employees.’’