• Rachael
    19
    Random testing does not work in isolation from other controls... it is another control used in conjunction with the hierarchy - which was the other reason it was compared with PPE (even though it's an administrative control). Again the OP was about Random D&A testing not 'What controls do we have in place for workers impaired by Drugs and Alcohol'. That would have been a totally different conversation. ;)
  • Andrew
    42
    Ah, yes we do digress. Sadly, we havent got close to answering the OPS questions. I think perhaps because we don't want to face up to "safety sensitive." You seem to have a de-facto "safety sensitive" site through your "high hazards" unit definition. However your examples of a boulder hitting one person or two vehicles hitting each other does not come close to meeting the Safety Sensitive threshold. At worst, one death would be a "tragedy"

    Before the OP can even consider Random drug testing there needs to be a Safety Sensitive site. Its not hard for us to imagine a plane or airport. Hundreds of passengers and $millions in capital and reputation are at risk. This is what "catastrophic" is if things go wrong

    We have guidance from the ERA decision. A $300m plant with 11 full time employees and numerous contractors. Very high temperatures and pressure coming from geothermal steam. Turbines running at very high RPM. There is loads of highly flammable material. And theres large volumes of sulphuric acid on site. Man - if that thing blows she's going to blow in a big way. You would not want an impaired person behind the controls. One wrong move and your looking at a catastrophe.

    How many worksites are like this. Not very many. So the issue of Random Drug testing only applies to outliers - and can't be applied as a norm.


    So, in answer to the Op's question " would you classify anyone that is driving a company vehicle as being in a safety sensitive role" the answer has to be most certainly no.
  • Alan Johnson
    8
    re your very last paragraph i.e. "So, in answer to the Op's question " would you classify anyone that is driving a company vehicle as being in a safety sensitive role" the answer has to be most certainly no", maybe not a safety sensitive role but certainly a safety sensitive "task" and thus will justify random drug testing.

    For what it's worth though I do see your point(s) and am waiting to see how this all goes once marijuana is legalised...
  • Andrew
    42
    Oh dear. Seems I'm going to start the new year in disagreement - and my resolution was to be more agreeable.

    So in the spirit of my new years resolution I do agree - driving is likely to be a safety sensitive task. As are very many tasks in our workplaces - which don't give us the ability to randomly test.

    If we look at MBIE's definition they say "Safety-sensitive tasks are ones where impaired performance, for whatever reason, could result in an incident affecting the safety of staff or participants.You must consider whether a staff member performing a task poses a risk of significant harm to themselves or others."

    This is quite different from a Safety Sensitive role, For this we rely on a higher authority - the 2012 ERA decision which defines the consequences as needing to be "catastrophic". This is a much higher level of harm than "serious"

    To randomly test a person must be in a safety sensitive role or area. A "task" is a subset of "Role" and does not meet the higher "Suspicionless testing " threshold.

    If you took my approach, the introduction of legalised marijuana use will make no difference. We shouldn't be poking our noses into what people do in their weekends now - just because it will be legalised gives us no greater opportunity to pry and judge. If you focus on "impairment" new legislation won't create any difference for you.
  • Rachael
    19
    Maybe if we stop looking at Drug and Alcohol testing as a control per-se and start seeing it as a method of identifying and monitoring risk (as with other health monitoring) the conversations around its use can become less defensive and more productive?

    Happy New Year :)
  • Andrew
    42
    Its not a matter of being defensive. Though that said, I see the right to privacy as a fundamental and crucial human right that we have here in New Zealand and we should all work very hard to preserve this right. And the courts agree with me – which is why we must have such a high threshold of risk before this right can be undermined.

    No matter how you sugar coat a turd, scratch under the surface and it remains a turd. While “health monitoring” may seem a pleasant coating, it is a mis-use of that procedure.

    We can now go off and read up on S6 (especially subsection 3), S31 and 33 – 42 of the General Risk and Workplace management Regs as our New Year homework.
  • Bruce Tollan
    4
    Random drug testing has been in place for many years now yet we still have high death rates in industry and little decrease in serious injuries. Is this evidence that random testing is a waste of time and money and is only promoted by those with a vested interest in making a profit from random testing
  • Sheri Greenwell
    27
    "Safety Sensitive" is an interesting term, and not the only consideration when setting policy. When I worked at Ports of Auckland, the CEO decided that ALL roles are 'safety-sensitive' - even administrative and IT roles make decisions that could affect worker safety if they were impaired. In addition, it was recognised that such a designation has the potential to be divisive within the organisation and everyone should be expected to turn up to work with full cognitive functioning - so the same rule for everyone.
  • Sheri Greenwell
    27
    Testing is done under the assumption of detecting impaired cognitive function. Unfortunately, since there is not yet a definitive test for cognitive functioning, everyone has to rely on testing for levels deemed to be 'safe' or 'harmful' using a generic level across the board. Since individual tolerance for intoxicating or mind-altering substances are known to vary widely, designated levels may well indicate impairment for some but not for others. At the moment, it is still an imperfect methodology for protecting workers from harm due to use of drugs or alcohol.

    As a side note, what happens with over-the-counter and prescription drugs that may cause impairment - e.g., many common cold remedies are known to make people drowsy, and I wonder how many people actually follow the instructions on the packaging?

    It also doesn't help the cause when a safety manager himself comes to work off his head on tramadol for a painful knee, brushing off concerns that he might not be in a fit state to be at work. His response when queried was, "Believe me, if I have an accident, it didn't happen at work!" Eventually we persuaded him to go home. He probably should not have been driving, but absolutely refused to go home any other way, even though he staggered around the carpark and nearly tried to open a car that was not his.....
  • Andrew
    42
    The CEO has the prerogative of calling anything whatever he likes. But what he can't do is call something "Safety Sensitive" and then apply random drug testing if its not.

    The courts have said "safety sensitive" is within a wharf limits (Maritime Union of New Zealand Inc v TLNZ (2007),)

    (re your other post on your Safety Manager. Drugs isn't the issue. He is patently incompetent and should be without a job)
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