Dozens of aircraft engineers, airline cabin crew, refuellers, security staff and baggage handlers have tested positive in drug and alcohol tests conducted by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
CASA was given the power to randomly test employees in sensitive areas of the aviation industry in September 2008. The Advertiser
applied for details of the testing under the Freedom of Information laws because CASA would only publicly release the number of random tests, not the results. In response, CASA released documents showing 41 people had been caught, with 13 later cleared of any wrongdoing. A CASA spokeswoman said the results should be compared with the number of tests carried out – 29,192 alcohol tests and 22,443 drug tests. “CASA is heartened by the extremely low rate of positive results as a percentage of the total number of drug and alcohol tests conducted, but naturally would prefer to see no positive results,” the spokeswoman said. “The drug and alcohol testing program will continue as part of a range of CASA surveillance activities aimed at maintaining Australia’s very high level of safety in aviation.” The results did not include mandatory tests after accidents or when employers suspected staff were drug or alcohol affected. The staff were tested for drugs including cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy and morphine. The 28 positive tests that resulted in further action included a refueller, a security guard, five aircraft engineers, eight cabin crew, four baggage handlers, one service employee and five people whose employment categories were not recorded. ]]>