The amendments to the Building Code introduced by Senator and Employment Minister Eric Abetz is virtually his final act as a member of the Federal Cabinet, says Anna Patty in a report for The Sydney Morning Herald.
Improving workplace safety standards
The Building Code changes by Abetz, who has already been dropped from the federal cabinet by new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, include mandatory drug testing at construction sites funded by the Commonwealth. The changes are meant to improve workplace safety standards in the high-risk construction industry, where people handle heavy machinery and work from heights, among other things.
While some politicians have criticised the move of the Government to intensify drug screening in Australia construction sites as “creating industry uncertainty”, we welcome the amendments, for the simple reason that they are, indeed, promoting workplace safety in an industry that is inherently dangerous to work in in the first place. Far too many construction personnel have been injured or have lost their lives because of drugs and alcohol, and we’re not just talking about workers who have shown up for work drunk or high on a certain drug. More often than not, the workers who get hurt are those who haven’t touched illicit drugs of any kind all their lives. So if the amendments are the senator’s swansong, then it is an amazing swansong that does a lot of good for work safety and the promotion of a healthy workplace culture.
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