Drug testing set to increase

Australian resources and construction companies may soon extend drug testing to their office based staff as employers move towards more egalitarian style workplaces.

Managing Director of recruitment marketing specialists, Employment Office, Tudor Marsden- Huggins, said  there was a growing trend towards employers moving to a 'one size fits all' approach to ensure all staff were treated equally.

"Many employers are questioning whether it's fair to have one rule for some staff and a different one for others," Mr Marsden-Huggins said.

"What this means is that everyone from miners and construction workers in high risk areas right through to secretaries and finance staff in generally safer roles at some organisations may have to undergo random drug testing," he said.

Mr Marsden-Huggins said the issue was causing headaches for human resources staff as they balanced their employee's right to privacy with the desire to create an equal workplace.

"Whilst drug testing in high risk roles is accepted as necessary for health and safety reasons, I expect some office workers may question if it is justified for their particular position such as those working behind a computer all day," Mr Marsden-Huggins said.

"Some workplaces are also looking into extending their egalitarian approach to the consumption of alcohol, which would rule out a glass of wine with lunch."

According to a recent Australian study, Australia and New Zealand were found to have the highest rate of cannabis usage, speed and crystal meth.

"Unfortunately drug use is a problem in Australia and HR departments must tread carefully to balance the right to privacy with creating healthy, happy and productive workforces," Mr Marsden- Huggins said.

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