Calls for education before random drug tests for construction workers

Lou Hendricks
Calls for education before random drug tests for construction workers

The construction union has warned it will not support random drug testing at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital site unless it is backed by a thorough education campaign.

It is worried drug-taking would go underground unless workers are given a thorough education on the risks.

A total of 400 workers attended three meetings today to hear the union talk about the builder’s plans for random drug testing, starting in a fortnight.

It follows a crane mishap last month when a rigger allegedly tested positive for methamphetamine.

The union said most workers support testing.

“Certainly we’re not going to tell our members what to do outside of work, what we will tell them is that they got to turn up here, not under the influence of drugs and alcohol,” Aaron Cartledge from the building union said.

But the union is demanding thorough drug education along with random tests, after consulting academics from the national centre for education and training on addiction.

The centre warns that without support, drugs will be forced underground.

“If workers feel they’re going to be dismissed and get the sack the firs time it happens to them, they’re going to try hide it,” workplace addiction researcher Dr Ken Pidd said.

“(It could) also send the issue underground if people aren’t prepared to talk about it.”

The union has not ruled out strike action if its concerns are not met.