How testing kits can help cut injury rates


Kings Transport uses the saliva testing kit and breathalyser in a company-wide safety push

How testing kits can help cut injury rates
The Prodigy S breathalyser in action.

 

A breathalyser and saliva testing kit has helped to change the drug testing process at one trucking company, as part of a broader campaign which has helped to cut its year on year lost time injuries by 20 per cent in 2017.

Kings Transport works with a contractor fleet of more than 1,800 drivers, with vehicles varying in size from bike couriers to semi-trailers.

The company’s safety coordinator for Western Australia, Lindsey Borthwick, says that with a fleet that size, Kings must conduct dozens of drug and alcohol tests every week – during pre-employment checks and random tests and challenges.

"The testing is usually random and without notice, not just because it helps to ensure drivers are compliant - not knowing when they will be tested, but because drivers are not always in the depot in the morning to clock on," he said.

"In addition to random testing, we occasionally receive ‘at cause’ reports where a driver or office worker is suspected of substance abuse and we will conduct tests to check the veracity of the claim."

At first glance, the scheme seems to be working, with Kings’ ‘Safety Always’ campaign helping it reduce its lost time injury frequency rate to about 1.87 per hour worked – which it says is "impressively well below our industry benchmark of 13.4 – as per Safe Work Australia's Road Freight Transport Industry benchmark."

The company uses two different kits produced by Andatech – the DrugSense DSO 7 and the Prodigy S breathalyser, which Borthwick says are easy to use, accurate and cost effective.

The DrugSense DSO 7 tests for amphetamine, benzodiazepine, cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine/Ice, marijuana and opiates such as morphine or heroin through a saliva test, which drivers can administer themselves.

Borthwick says the DSO 7 displays clear, easy-to-read results within five minutes of sample collection, adding that the company had had only one issue with the drug testing kit in 18 months of using it.

"That was when people who have a very dry mouth weren’t getting enough saliva on the swab for it to register," he says.

"This was solved by simply leaving the swab in the mouth longer so it got wetter."

There were no such problems with the Andatech’s Prodigy S breathalyser, which offers unlimited tests between calibrations and has a long lifespan for high volume testing environments.

Boasting a three second response time and a recycle time of five seconds, the breathalyser has three decimal place readings from 0.000 to 0.400 per cent blood alcohol content (BAC) and an accuracy of ± 0.005 per cent BAC.

It also comes with a Bluetooth printer and a data input and memory function that can store up to 10,000 entries in the unit itself or exported to a PC.

"Both testing units are very easy to operate whether I’m out in the field at our depots or when I do the weekly training of new drivers to reinforce the importance of being free of alcohol and drugs," Borthwick says.

"Part of the testing process is to ensure the units are re-calibrated every six months to ensure the accuracy of the readouts. This is done locally so we aren’t without the units for more than a few days."

 

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