If you’re a workplace manager or owner and your business is safety-focussed, there’s now even more reason to consider implementing drug testing and alcohol testing as part of your workplace health and safety program.
That’s because new industrial manslaughter laws have recently passed in the Northern Territory. New, similar laws are also proposed in Western Australia, New South Wales and Victoria. Queensland and the ACT already have similar laws in place.
What do the new laws mean?
In the Northern Territory, for example, the industrial manslaughter law provides the means for a new offence of negligent conduct causing the death of a person to whom a duty is owed. The law applies to organisations and senior officers.
In a nutshell, any senior officer of an organisation who is found guilty under the new laws could face imprisonment for life; a business could face a penalty of up to just over $10 million!
So, if you are a senior officer, you most certainly should be doing everything in your power to ensure your organisation is taking workplace health and safety seriously, and that means having a drug and alcohol management plan in place. And, as part of the plan, it could mean conducting drug testing and alcohol testing in your workplace.
Australian workplace laws back drug and alcohol testing
We’ve long claimed that in Australia you are well within your right as an organisation that is safety critical to conduct drug testing and alcohol testing in your workplace, and the new laws make this even more imperative.
In fact, now more than ever, it could be argued that for some industries drug and alcohol testing should be compulsory. That’s because not taking steps to reduce the incidence of employees coming to work impaired by drugs or alcohol can certainly pose a significant risk to health and safety. And, under the new laws, it could put you as a senior office at significant risk.
There are already Australian workplace drug testing laws that make testing compulsory on some sites. This principally involves building contractors covered by the Building Code and working on building sites financed by federal dollars. All such building contractors are now required to undergo regular drug and alcohol testing under the amendments to the Building Code 2013, introduced in 2015.
Importantly however, you must have a drug and alcohol policy and procedures in place before you introduce testing. It’s also important as part of these policies and procedures that your employees are educated. This education will provide information about the terms of your policies and procedures, the drug testing and alcohol testing that will take place and provide general details on the dangers of drugs and alcohol in the workplace.
If your business is contemplating introducing drug testing or alcohol, contact Integrity Sampling. We can help you with all aspects, including developing a drug and alcohol policy, procedures and testing.
New workplace laws make drug testing and alcohol testing even more important for safety-focussed organisations. Credit Naval Surface Warriors https://www.flickr.com/photos/navalsurfaceforces/28902273703/