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Health and safety bigger issue than drug testing

Health and safety bigger issue than drug testing

"Health and safety in the workplace is a far bigger issue than drug testing, especially for those in the aviation industry," says National Party Industrial Relations spokesman Roger Sowry.

He's commenting on the Union challenge to Air New Zealand's plan to test its employees for drug and alcohol use.

"We're talking about an industry where the slightest lack of attention to detail could have catastrophic consequences.

"The travelling public deserve to know the people servicing and flying the planes have all their faculties," says Mr Sowry.

"Drug testing in high risk industries is not unusual.

"The forestry and construction sectors have been doing it for years and that focus on health and safety has helped bring down the high rate of workplace accidents.

"In the US, drug-testing is required for specified federally-regulated transportation employees. The US Department of Transportation has an entire division devoted to drug and alcohol policy.

"Here at home, Air New Zealand has an obligation to pursue the case on behalf of passengers, who could be awarded substantial sums under current legislation if something goes awry because of an avoidable human error," Mr Sowry says.

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