Workplace drug and alcohol incidents aren’t just confined to factories and mines, and occur in the community, sometimes with tragic circumstances. Credit MD111 and RussellHarryLee (images modified).

When workplace drug testing and the community mix

When Integrity Sampling consultants conduct their workplace drug testing, most of the tests are carried out ‘behind closed doors’. The tests take place in places such as factories, mines, warehouses and farms. However, testing can also be conducted away from the traditional workplace, for example when drug testing transportation or aviation workers.

As we highlighted in last week’s post focusing on drug testing in Victoria, sometimes workplace incidents, where drugs or alcohol are involved, have a significant impact on the community too. The post told the story about a tram driver who failed alcohol testing after he allegedly hit two pedestrians with his tram.

It’s certainly not the only time that workplace drug testing and the community have mixed and in some cases the circumstances are tragic:

  • A couple of years ago, in Sydney, ten Manly Fast Ferry deckhands were stood down after five failed workplace drug testing and a further five refused to be tested. The testing blitz results forced the cancellation of some ferry services. Manly Fast Ferries has a zero-tolerance policy towards drug use and considering the job their workers do, most people would agree this is reasonable.
  • In 2018, a Singapore Airlines pilot was stopped from flying his airplane out of Melbourne after he failed random alcohol testing pre-flight. Pre-flight testing is not mandatory in Australia. In some countries, for some airlines, testing before flying as a part of a complete medical check, is required.
  • Perhaps the most notable case of workplace drug testing and the community colliding in tragic circumstances was last year, when four police officers were killed in Melbourne. They were killed after they were hit on the side of the road by a truck being driven by Mohinder Singh. He had had only five hours sleep in the previous 72 hours and was high on drugs.
  • In Western Australia, in 2015, a truck driver driving a truck with 12 horses on board failed a roadside drug test and was found with drug paraphernalia in his possession. What made this case noteworthy, because unfortunately transportation workers getting caught high on drugs is not overly unusual, is the man quit his job on the spot, leaving the 12 horses seemingly high and dry. Luckily, the police came to the rescue and made sure the horses were looked after.
  • In the Kimberley region of the Northern Territory, where the flow of alcohol is tightly controlled to reduce alcohol abuse, a small number of taxi drivers have been found to be part of the black market supply. In 2015, a 67-year-old taxi driver was charged with carrying liquor for sale when he was found with six bottles of wine. He had his taxi licence cancelled as part of the consequences, a hefty but perhaps fair price to pay for his indiscretions.

These incidents highlight, yet again, that in workplaces, as well as in our communities, people are willing to take risks with drugs and alcohol. That’s why it’s so important, if you do manage a business where safety is a priority, that you take the management of drugs and alcohol seriously.

To find out more about how you can implement workplace drug testing, or how to beef up your drug and alcohol management, phone Integrity Sampling on 1300 725 482.


Workplace drug and alcohol incidents aren’t just confined to factories and mines, and occur in the community, sometimes with tragic circumstances. Credit MD111 and RussellHarryLee (images modified).

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Michael is the founder of Integrity Sampling and is responsible for overseeing all national operations. He is based at Integrity Sampling's head office in Thomastown and is also responsible for the co-ordination of drug and alcohol testing within Victoria, assisting in the implementation of drug and alcohol (fit for work) policies and the presentation of drug and alcohol education and awareness programs. You can connect with Michael Wheeldon on LinkedIn

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