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AN UNPRECEDENTED seven Queensland Rail workers have been sacked in just one month after coming to work drunk or high on drugs, including three members of the same work crew.
The troubled operator has ramped up its hard-line approach to substance use in recent months that saw it record a peak in positive tests in April after a series of targeted stings, The Courier-Mail can reveal.
One operation homed in on a regional work group that led to the sacking of three – one who tested positive for cannabis and alcohol and two others who had been drinking.
Two guards, a station customer service attendant and another regional track worker were also netted in April during a whopping 852 tests for cannabis, methamphetamine and other amphetamines. They have either been sacked or are awaiting their penalty.
QR’s new chief executive Nick Easy slammed the results as “unacceptable” as staff put safety at risk.
Exclusive figures show 67 positive tests have been recorded over the past two years and the vast majority (47) were classed as rail safety workers, like track crew, maintenance staff and rail traffic crew.
Forty-two were nabbed during a random test and the remainder were singled out due to suspicion, high risk or following an incident.
All staff involved in safety breaches like running a red signal or level crossing episodes are tested immediately.
The figures precede an even tighter crackdown by the National Rail Safety Regulator, which has increased powers to do its own tests in addition to the more than 10,000 a year QR already does.
Mr Easy said the company’s drug-testing program was one of the nation’s most rigorous.
This article first appeared on www.couriermail.com.au
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