On 6 February 2014 the Victorian Premier, Denis Napthine, announced the intention to
“…require construction companies to implement comprehensive drug and alcohol screening measures to ensure the safety of workers to be eligible to tender for Victorian Government construction contracts.”
The Coalition Government in Victoria will introduce amendments to the Implementation Guidelines to the Victorian Code of Practice for the Building and Construction Industry, and the revised guidelines are expected to be in place by mid-2014.
“Reports of illicit drug use and distribution on Victorian construction sites are widespread,” said Victorian Premier Denis Napthine.
The CFMEU’s Victorian Secretary John Setka has stated that
“There is no epidemic of drug taking on construction sites…. Our Health and Safety representatives who look out for workers’ health and safety are not reporting a problem.”
CFMEU occupational health and safety manager, Gerry Ayers, also said that there is no evidence of accidents on building sites due to rampant drug use
Master Builders Association of Victoria CEO, Radley de Silva, welcomed the announcement and said anyone interested in the safety of construction workers should back the policy.
“Ordinary drivers on our roads are randomly drug tested, so why those working on dangerous construction sites among heavy machinery shouldn’t also be tested?” de Silva said.
“Drug testing has already happened on the Thiess M80 Ring Road project, despite the objections of the CFMEU and is occurring in the civil construction, aviation and transport industries to name only a few.
“The construction industry is not being singled out, it is simply following what is justifiably already the norm in many other high risk industries.” said De Silva.
The on-site screening for drugs and alcohol in the construction Industry has been a hot topic for government, employers and unions in recent years.
In light of the most recent statements by the Victorian Premier the CFMEU secretary and the Master Builders CEO the ‘political football’ surrounding the topic looks set to continue past the revised guideline date of mid 2014.
Posted By: Cathal Uniacke – firstname.lastname@example.org