Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC) have published a fact sheet on the changes to Building Code 2013. The changes took effect on 16th October 2015.

Building contractors covered by the Building Code now need to make sure their management of drugs and alcohol in the workplace is reflected in their Work Health, Safety and Risk (WHS&R) system. This will help to ensure that no one working on-site does so under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

Commonwealth funded projects that meet the financial threshold must have a fitness for work policy to manage drugs, and includes alcohol and drug testing. The threshold is where the Commonwealth’s contribution is at least $10,000,000; or at least $5,000,000 and represents at least 50% of the total value of the construction project.

The fitness for work policy must address how people on site, including employees, subcontractors and others, will be required to comply through contract or some other enforceable means.

The fitness for work policy must require the use of an objective medical testing method, such as a urine drug test or saliva drug test, to detect drugs or alcohol in a person’s system. It must outline which detection method is to be used and what will happen when a non-negative test is returned – for example compulsory stand-down while the sample is sent for confirmatory testing.

The fitness for work policy must outline the personnel selection process, the frequency of testing, and the methods of testing.

Workers must be tested for the following substances:

  • Alcohol
  • THC (the active ingredient in marijuana)
  • Opiates (such as morphine and heroin)
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Methamphetamines (including ice and ecstasy)
  • Benzodiazepines

When a person returns a positive result for any of the above substances they will be deemed not fit for work.

Where a serious breach of the Building Code occurs, FWBC will report them to the Code Monitoring Group, which in turn may recommend exclusion sanctions. However this will be a phased approach and FWBC will initially be educating participants on the requirements.

See the full fact sheet here: http://www.fwbc.gov.au/drug-and-alcohol-testing-under-building-code-2013/.

And read more information here: http://www.fwbc.gov.au/drug-and-alcohol-testing-under-building-code-2013-0/.