Rail takes alcohol and drug testing seriously

When it comes to transportation, safety should always take the front seat. This includes the Australian rail industry; a giant that employs over 100,000 people nationwide. While this umbrella covers a plethora of different occupations; all employers should adapt the same tough stance towards alcohol and drugs. Bryan Nye, the Chief of the Australasian rail association discussed the 2012 test results in an interview with the press. This includes random testing; an initiative that Nye believes is conducive with promoting safe railway infrastructure in all urban, suburban, and rural communities across the country.

The Australasian Railway Association has taken an aggressive stance on drug testing. The vast majority of statistics are based off of a sample population. Generally, bigger sample populations yield more accurate results. As such, it’s impressive that there was a 55% increase in testing yet a drastic reduction in positive drug and alcohol test results.

When it comes to the rail industry, one accident can potentially cause hundreds of deaths. Unfortunately, one major area of concern has included crashes and strikes at level crossing gateways. Based on the select positive results of the drug tests, it’s apparent that many of these accidents were indeed preventable.

While 0.12% positive test results sounds trivial, it is quite disturbing when put into perspective. This equates to 284 rail worker sunder the influence of drugs and alcohol. Even if only 5 of those workers were train operators, they are risking thousands of passengers’ lives on a daily basis. Nonetheless the number of positive results was one third less than the previous year. After all, the study is based on the same 22 companies and conducted on an annual basis. In 2013, the total number of tests were increased to a total of 371,148 drug and alcohol tests. This indicates that mandatory industry drug testing is quite effective.

Nye mentioned that these statistics were a testament of the network’s commitment to the safety and wellbeing of its employees and passengers. He added that the test results demonstrated that the increase in rail industry drug and alcohol testing was an effective and economical risk management initiative.

The rail industry has been carrying out a variety of tests for a while; Breathalyzer tests, mouth swab tests, and urine tests are the three most common kinds of tests. However, regardless of the method used, 98% of all of these tests were scheduled on a random basis.

Since this test data is completely anonymous, the results have been made available to the greater public upon request.