Industry Update

Zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol on construction sites

The ABCC regulates the Code for the Tendering and Performance of Building Work 2016.  The Code has strict rules about fitness for work.

Code covered contractors are reminded that they must ensure all of their sites have an approach to managing drug and alcohol issues in the workplace to help ensure that no person attending the site to perform building work does so under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The relevant drugs are those listed in Schedule 4 to the Building Code.

This requirement applies to code covered contractors regardless of whether they are a head contractor or subcontractor and regardless of whether the project is privately or publicly funded.

Head contractors are also reminded that they must implement drug and alcohol testing as set out in their fitness for work policy. This is required on Commonwealth funded building work that has a Workplace Relations Management Plan (WRMP).

In summary, on sites where a WRMP applies, head contractors must:

  • conduct, at a minimum, random monthly alcohol and drug testing, for alcohol, opiates, THC, cocaine, benzodiazepines, amphetamine and methamphetamine
  • test those on site including employees of the head contractor, subcontractors and their employees
  • test at least the minimum number of workers as outlined in the Code (the minimum number of tests required varies depending on the number of workers on site).
  • ensure that anyone with a positive result will not work until they can prove they are fit to return to work
  • outline how workers affected by drugs or alcohol will be counselled and assisted, apart from any disciplinary process that might apply
  • outline procedures for targeted testing of higher-risk activities, voluntary testing and for-cause testing.

For more information, visit our webpage on the Code’s requirements for fitness for work.

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