ABCC releases findings from zero drugs and alcohol on building sites campaign

Results from the ABCC’s zero drugs and alcohol on building sites campaign are now available. The campaign involved fitness for work audits of code covered contractors.

To help improve safety, head contractors on Commonwealth-funded building projects are required to have an approved ABCC Workplace Relations Management Plan (WRMP) that provides for drug and alcohol testing along with counselling and assistance to workers.

Head contractors are required to test for alcohol, opiates, THC, cocaine, benzodiazepines, amphetamine and methamphetamine.

As part of the fitness for work audits, ABCC inspectors assessed large and small-sized projects across seven states and territories where an ABCC approved WRMP applied.

Projects were located in the North and Central Coasts of NSW, Sydney, Riverina, the Southern Downs, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Launceston, Canberra, Queanbeyan, Melbourne, Ballarat, Perth and WA’s Wheat Belt and Outback regions and included key road and rail infrastructure projects.

Of the audits completed, inspectors found 84 per cent of head contractors were compliant with their workplace obligations for drug and alcohol testing under the Code for the Tendering and Performance of Building Work 2016 (the Building Code), while 16 per cent were found to have potential compliance issues relating to the number of workers tested.

All head contractors audited met requirements around providing counselling and assistance for workers affected by drugs and alcohol, medical testing methods and preventing people who tested positive for drugs or alcohol from performing work while under the influence.

The ABCC sought voluntary rectification from head contractors alleged to have breached the Building Code. Rectification measures included:

  • updating company procedures and policies to make clear that random testing of minimum numbers of workers should occur separately from, and in addition to other types of testing (high-risk, for-cause or pre-employment)
  • undertaking further education and training of relevant staff regarding drug and alcohol testing requirements in the Building Code
  • notifying relevant staff of the Building Code breach and reconfirming the contractor’s expectations regarding drug and alcohol testing
  • committing to meet drug and alcohol testing requirements in the Building Code in future.
    More information on the ABCC’s findings is available on our fitness for work web page.