MEDIA RELEASE 04 February 2008
Mining industry leads the way with drug-safe workplace
The mining industry is at the forefront of Australian workplace safety with
about 70 per cent of Australia's 380 mines with a drug-safe workplace program in
place, according to drug and alcohol testing and screening specialist Frontline
Managing Director Michael White established Frontline Diagnostics to provide
Australian industry with a complete solution for the detection, management and
control of alcohol and other drugs in the workplace.
White said Frontline Diagnostics has worked with about 80 to 100 mines since its
foundation in 1999.
"The mining industry is definitely leading in Australia in terms of drug-safe
workplace policies. The Australian mining industry wants to be seen as a
forerunner worldwide in terms of OH&S issues and so it introduced the Mine
Health and Safety Act in 2004. The Act stipulates that mines should introduce a
policy or at least address the issue of drugs in the workplace," he explained.
White said mines which have introduced a drug-safe workplace program have had a
significant decline in the rates of people testing positive.
"In our experience, mines with a proper drug-safe workplace policy and regular
drug testing have about four per cent of their staff testing positive to drug
and alcohol screening. This is in comparison to 17 to 20 per cent for mines
which have not introduced a policy or testing. These mines attract drug users
because staff are generally aware of which mines do not enforce a policy," he
"Drug users who test positive on a few occasions can request counselling and
quit consuming or leave their workplace. Many of them then enrol with a
contractor," White explained.
White said Frontline Diagnostics got astounding results when the company worked
with a series of mines in NSW to run 7,000 tests in a year.
"At the beginning of the year, 17 per cent of the mines staff tested positive to
our drug and alcohol screening. By the end of the 12 months, only 1.8 per cent
tested positive. This is a huge decrease," he said.
According to Michael White, the first step in implementing a drug-safe workplace
policy is making sure it is user-friendly.
"The policy has to be easy to understand and openly explained to mine staff
through workshops," White said.
"It is also important to find an experienced screening company because spending
hours every day on drug and alcohol screening costs mines a lot of money and
time. An efficient screening company can reduce the amount of time taken to
undertake drug screening," he added.
White explained one of the challenges Frontline Diagnostics sometimes encounters
is getting everyone to reach agreement.
"One of the challenges we face is making sure that everyone in the mining
company including management, staff and unions understand and agree with the
proper type of testing," he said.
"We have had great success in talking one-on-one with mines' management as they
usually know what their drug and alcohol problems are. It is then easier for us
to develop proper testing and tailored education workshops for staff," he added.
Frontline Diagnostics services include complete drug screening and testing with
results analysis and comprehensive reporting; policy development support for
regulating alcohol and other drugs at the workplace; education workshops and
training; purpose-built mobile clinics plus referral to accredited employee
Frontline Diagnostics is also a founding member of the Drug-Safe Australia
For more information about Frontline Diagnostics call 1800 888 852 or visit
Released for Frontline Diagnostics by Dennis Rutzou Public Relations (www.drpr.com.au)
For further information please call Kim Larochelle and Nicola Rutzou on (02)