An article posted to Shift Miner on the 6th April 2016 reports a five-fold increase in drug detection at the Goonyella Riverside mine after implementing a new drug testing regime.

The article says:

According to BMA’s Asset President Ragg Udd, the new testing regime has discovered concerning numbers of “Ice” affected employees turning up for work.

“Since Goonyella Riverside adopted new urine screening procedures a number of cases of drug and alcohol use have been detected, including methamphetamine, commonly referred to as ice,’’ he said.

“Our analysis shows that compared to the previous year, the detection rate for substance use has increased approximately fivefold since the improved regime was introduced.

“We understand that drug use is an issue within the broader community and BMA has counselling services available to our employees if they are in need of assistance,  but it is unacceptable for someone affected by drugs to perform work on site, placing themselves and their workmates at risk of a serious safety incident.”

BMA have not yet responded to requests for details about the actual numbers of workers found to be affected by drugs, which makes it hard to come to any conclusion about whether drug use is endemic in mining – as is so often claimed.

However the CFMEU – who unsuccessfully challenged the new testing regime in the Supreme Court – told local media of the 66 cases of methamphetamine detection – just two were people directly employed by BMA.

District President Steve Smyth says they challenged the new testing regime because they felt BHP had breached the rules governing how new policies are implemented on a mine site.

Specifically, he felt the legislation required BMA to get  all the workers on site to vote for the change rather than the minority that voted to support it in this instance

“The proceedings were significant in clarifying the correct interpretation of the legislation, including the importance of worker participation and involvement where new procedures are sought to be implemented,” Mr Smyth said.

“It is important that workers have a say and are involved in these decisions because at the end of the day it is their health and safety we are trying to protect.

“For example, assertions that increased detection rates can be attributed to a change in the method or type of testing may not take into account that an increase in the number of tests being done is responsible for the increased detection.

“There are serious drug and alcohol issues that arise in the industry, including those exacerbated by the increased demands on workers through roster and work arrangements.

“Companies must engage meaningfully with their workforce to understand why that is happening and what is the best way of dealing with it.”

Read the full article here: