The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has released the results of a review conducted among employees for drug and alcohol use.
The latest drug and alcohol testing data, released by the ARA has shown a decrease in the rate of positive results amongst employees over two years, even though the number of tests conducted has increased by more than 130,000, or nearly 55%.
The review was conducted in 2012 and again in 2013 by the ARA, of 22 of its member companies, which comprise of passenger and freight operators, track owners and managers, constructors, manufacturers and suppliers.
The review found that between 1 January and 31 December 2012, the Australian Rail Industry undertook 240,394 employee drug and alcohol tests, 284 or 0.12% of which returned positive results. The following year, in 2013, there was a significant increase in the number of tests conducted amongst the same 22 companies to 371,148, with 311 or 0.08% results returning positive. This showed an overall decrease of 0.04%, or one third, in the rate of employees returning positive results.
Chief Executive Officer of the ARA, Bryan Nye OAM, said these results supported the great importance that rail places on the welfare and safety of its workforce and the continued commitment to moving people and freight safely around the country.
According to Mr Nye, rail is a major national industry, employing more than 110,000 people in a wide range of occupations, disciplines and professions in urban, regional, and rural areas of Australia. It is therefore paramount that employees working within the rail industry uphold the core value of safety in their organisations - the random drug and alcohol testing is one of the many successful initiatives that help to ensure the safe operation of rail within the communities.
An average of 98% of tests conducted in both years were random, with the remaining 2% comprising of pre-employment, post incident or upon suspicion tests. Tests were taken by swab, breath or urine samples.