Drug and Alcohol Testing under the Building Code 2013 - are you compliant?
Drug & Alcohol Screening Officer
Training (HLTPAT005 Collect specimens for drugs of abuse testing)
Learn how to conduct drug & alcohol screening in a workplace environment in accordance with the latest Australian Standards.
Having your staff trained in-house allows for flexible testing 24 hours per day in addition to our onsite service.
This is a Nationally Accredited module.
Course cost: from $760 pp
Duration: 8-9 hours
As of February 2016 all building contractors covered by the Building Code 2013 must have a Drug and Alcohol policy in place and be actively testing workers.
Onsite Diagnostics' staff are available to assist with policy creation, supply of the correct testing equipment and training of key personnel to perform the testing. We are also available to visit your site to perform random testing on your workers and manage the implementation of your Drug and Alcohol policy.
How do we write the Drug & Alcohol Policy, this is all new to us?
Our staff are available to write the policy for you to ensure that your organisation covers all of the relevant criteria required for a comprehensive drug and alcohol policy. Our policy writing staff are all trained collectors, undertand the methods of testing and will work with you to ensure all of your questions are addressed. If you have already prepared a policy but are unsure of whether it is suitable, we are able to review the policy and suggest amendments.
How do we implement Drug & Alcohol testing at our worksite?
You basically have 2 options:
1) outsource the testing to an organisation like Onsite Drug Testing and Training to visit your sites and perform the testing randomly on your workers and contractors. Details of our testing service are available here
2) train key personnel in your organisation to become 'collectors' by enrolling in our Nationally Accredited drug and alcohol screening officer training course HLTPAT005 - Collect specimens for drugs of abuse testing, purchase testing equipment and accessories from Onsite Drug Testing and Training and conduct the training in-house. Details of our training course are available here.
Which drug tests should be used?
All of the Onsite drug testing range meet the requirements of the Building Code 2013 for substances to be tested.
The Onsite Oral 7 saliva drug test and Eco 7 urine drug test have the addition of K2 (Synthetic Marijuana. Employees have been known to switch from smoking natural marijuana to smoking synthetic marijuana to avoid detection in a random drug test. They can no longer avoid detection with our Synthetic Marijuana test strip included in the Oral 7 and Eco 7 tests.
How should alcohol be tested for?
Alcohol testing should be performed using a breathalyser. We do have drug tests that incorporate an alcohol test strip but the cut-off level for detection of alcohol on these is 0.020%BAC.
In the construction industry you have a Zero Tolerance for alcohol so your only option is a breathalyser. We recommend the AlcoLimit WORKSafe Breathalyser. It is the best value for money on the market for a fully functional breathalyser at a reasonable price. It logs all test data and retains up to 500 results in the unit. FREE SOFTWARE is included in the price which allows you to download the data to your PC and export the data to an Excel spreadsheet.
For workplaces with multiple sites this is a great option because the monthly data required to be collected under the Building Code 2013 can then be emailed to the company's head office and retained in a central data store.
Calibration is easy with the replaceable sensor module which just clicks in when recalibration is due. The used sensor module is then sent back to AlcoLimit's service centre for calibration and kept aside for when the next calibration is due. Calibration is required every 6 months and costs $85. There is no down-time with this model which is a recurring problem with other brands on the market.
Drug and alcohol testing under the Building Code 2013
From Friday 16 October 2015, the new fitness for work amendments to the Building Code 2013 commenced for all building contractors covered by the Building Code. FWBC is responsible for monitoring compliance with the Building Code and will have a three stage approach to auditing the drug and alcohol testing requirements.
Initially, FWBC will focus on assisting industry through education, providing information and helping contractors to understand the implications of the policy. In the second stage, FWBC will conduct audits with a view to providing feedback on their compliance with the requirements and assisting them with voluntary rectification to achieve compliance. In the third stage, FWBC will conduct audits and if, compliance and rectification are not achieved, undertake the usual processes to give consideration to taking further action under the Code.
FWBC will not commence the third stage until after 1 February 2016. This will give contractors adequate time to put in place Code compliant arrangements.
General duty on all contractors covered by the Building Code
From 16 October 2015, all building contractors covered by the Building Code must ensure that their management of drugs and alcohol in the workplace is reflected in their WHS&R management system. This requirement will help ensure that no person attending the site to perform building work does so under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
Drug and alcohol testing is only mandatory for principal contractors on Commonwealth funded projects that meet the financial threshold
On Commonwealth projects that meet the financial threshold, principal contractors must have a fitness for work policy to manage alcohol and other drugs in the workplace which includes drug and alcohol testing.
The fitness for work policy with drug and alcohol testing is not required on private projects or on State government projects that do not meet the applicable threshold for Commonwealth funding. On these sites, the general duty on all contractors covered by the Code is to ensure that their WHS&R management system reflects how they will manage drugs and alcohol in the workplace.
The fitness for work policy with drug and alcohol testing is required on Commonwealth funded projects with the following financial threshold:
where the value of the Commonwealth’s contribution to the project is at least $5,000,000 and represents at least 50% of the total construction project value; or
where the Commonwealth’s contribution to the project is at least $10,000,000.
The fitness for work policy must:
address how those on site will be required to comply with the relevant fitness for work policy (i.e. through contract or some other enforceable means);
require the use of an objective medical testing method to detect the presence of drugs or alcohol in a worker's system and outline which detection method is to be used on the project (ie/ oral or urine testing);
outline the procedures in place for the selection of personnel to be tested, including staged selection across a worksite or random selection for testing if the entire workforce is not to be tested in a testing round;
outline how a person who returns a positive result will be prevented from performing work until they can prove they are fit to return to work, and other processes that will apply in the event of a positive result or deemed positive result (i.e. a failure to submit to a test);
outline how workers who attend for work affected by drugs or alcohol will be counselled and assisted, apart from any disciplinary process that might apply.
The amendment to the Building Code specifies the substances to be tested for and that subject to testing detectable levels, there is a zero level of tolerance for all substances. At a minimum, there must be random testing of the workforce for these substances at least monthly.
What are the minimum standards expected in relation to drugs and alcohol?
The fitness for work policy of the principal contractor must require the use of an objective medical testing method to detect the presence of drugs or alcohol in a worker’s system. It must also outline which detection method is to be used on the project and outline the processes in place when a positive test is returned.
There is no mandatory form of testing. Urine testing and saliva testing are both permitted.
Some information on the minimum requirements is outlined below:
What substances are required to be tested for?
All of the following substances must be tested for by the principal contractor:
Who is to be tested?
Principal contractors must outline in their fitness for work policy the procedures in place for the selection of personnel to be tested, including staged selection across a worksite or random selection for testing if the entire workforce is not to be tested in a testing round.
As a minimum, frequent and periodic drug and alcohol testing of both construction workers and site office workers (who are also undertaking building work) should be conducted as follows:
where there are less than 30 workers on site – at least 10% of the workforce;
where there are 30 to 100 workers on site – a minimum of 5 workers per month; and
where there are greater than 100 workers on site – a minimum of 10 workers per month.
How frequently are drugs and alcohol expected to be tested for?
The minimum frequency for random drug and alcohol testing by principal contractors is at least once per month. Principal contractors must also outline their procedure for targeted testing of higher risk activities, voluntary testing and for-cause testing.
What is the level of tolerance for each drug listed above?
In respect of each substance listed above, subject to testing detectable levels, there is a zero level tolerance.
What must happen if a person tests positive for any of the substances listed above?
When a person returns a positive result for any of the substances listed they will be deemed not to be fit for work. Principal contractors must outline in their policy how a person who returns a positive result will be prevented from performing work until they can prove they are fit to return to work, and other processes that will apply in the event of a positive result or deemed positive result (i.e. a failure to submit to a test).
Principal contractors must also outline in their fitness for work policy how workers who attend for work affected by drugs or alcohol will be counselled and assisted, apart from any disciplinary process that might apply.
How will FWBC monitor the drug and alcohol screening requirements?
FWBC will audit a principal contractor’s fitness for work policy to ensure that the minimum standards for drug and alcohol testing are adequately addressed. FWBC will also audit projects to ensure that the drug and alcohol requirements of the fitness for work policy are being implemented.
Are there sanctions for non-compliance with the drug and alcohol testing requirements?
Yes. Where serious breaches occur the Director of FWBC reports them with a recommendation for sanction to the Minister for Employment, who in turn may impose exclusion sanctions. The Director can recommend a sanction where a contractor has failed to comply with the Building Code and the failure cannot be satisfactorily rectified.
FWBC is responsible for auditing contractors to ensure those subject to the Code have in place a fitness for work policy that is compliant with the Building Code.
FWBC has developed a fact sheet which explains Drug and Alcohol testing under the Building Code 2013.
FWBC has also developed FAQs in relation to Drug and Alcohol testing in the building and construction industry.
The Building Code 2013, including the new drug and alcohol provisions, can be viewed on Comlaw.
The above information is extracted from the FWBC website and is subject to change. Please check their website for any updates.