How mining revolutionised drug testing in Queensland

The way the Queensland mining industry implemented workplace drug testing in the 1980s provides a blueprint for other workplaces. Credit Dominik Vanyi (image modified).

In the early 1980s, Queensland’s mining industry faced a daunting challenge. Some employees were regularly showing up to work under the influence of drugs, posing serious safety risks. What mining did to overcome the issue was revolutionary at the time. With the implementation of workplace drug testing in Queensland mines, the mining industry was able to turn things around and bring safety back into the light.

Drug testing not the only initiative

While workplace drug testing was one of the initiatives the Queensland mining industry used, it certainly wasn’t the only thing they did. The drug testing was part of a comprehensive drug and alcohol management program that was implemented. The program also included education of employees. Education about the drug and alcohol management policies and about the hazards of substance abuse.

Despite initial scepticism, this proactive approach proved remarkably effective, drastically reducing drug-related incidents.

What’s even more remarkable about the turnaround is at the time, Queensland, like the rest of Australia, were decades away from drug testing on their roads. In fact, alcohol testing wasn’t initiated until 1988 in Queensland, three years after the 0.05 blood alcohol limit was introduced.

It’s fair to say that many people in Queensland viewed the ability to drive home after having a skinful as a badge of honour. Thankfully, the view today is entirely different and the same goes for drugs, on the roads and in the workplace.

Key learnings from Queensland mining drug testing

If you’re a workplace that is struggling with issues relating to people coming to work under the influence, it’s time to bring the issues into the light.

Prioritise safety by initiating discussions with your employees, developing a drug and alcohol management policy and implementing workplace drug testing in your Queensland business. Consulting with employees and integrating drug testing into a comprehensive safety framework, complete with education and support initiatives, can foster a culture of accountability and wellbeing.

Remember, introducing drug testing isn’t just about compliance. It’s about safeguarding the health and welfare of employees and the broader community.

Start the conversation with Integrity Sampling

Implementing drug testing in your Queensland workplace can be hard, but not when you have Integrity Sampling on your side. Our total drug and alcohol management service means we can help you in every aspect, from developing your policy and procedures, educating your workforce and conducting drug and alcohol testing.

With branches across Queensland, including Brisbane, Cairns, Gold Coast, Mackay, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast and Townsville, there’s support near you.

Together, let’s build safer, drug-free workplaces for Queenslanders.


The way the Queensland mining industry implemented workplace drug testing in the 1980s provides a blueprint for other workplaces. Credit Dominik Vanyi  (image modified).

By Michael

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 Melbourne 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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