Tuesday, June 28, 2022
ONRSR has commenced its first prosecution against a rail safety worker for attempting to provide synthetic urine when directed to provide a sample for routine drug and alcohol testing.
While ONRSR is unlikely to seek the maximum penalty under Rail Safety National Law (RSNL) – a $10,000 fine – in this case, an increasing trend of workers submitting synthetic urine samples has prompted a warning to anyone considering following suit.
ONRSR Chief Executive and National Rail Safety Regulator, Sue McCarrey said anyone attempting to mislead testing authorities and try and beat the system is destined to end up on the wrong side of the law.
“This is a concerning trend, and rail safety workers considering such an approach should be aware that we are detecting the use of the synthetic urine, and we will take appropriate enforcement action if we catch people doing the wrong thing.,” she said.
“We are currently investigating several more suspected cases with a view to prosecuting.”
“There is also a clear message here for rail transport operators in that this is a trend you should be mindful of, if you are utilising urine testing as part of your drug and alcohol management program under the law and you may wish to consider further education on this issue for your workers.”
Synthetic urine is sold commercially, most commonly accessed online and purchased by people seeking to deceive testers and avoid returning a positive sample. The product can be sophisticated, and include components found in real human urine such as creatinine, ammonia and nitrates.
ONRSR has investigated a number of circumstances over the past few years where synthetic urine has been detected as part of routine drug tests undertaken by rail transport operators. The authorised testers have processes to test the urine samples and they can quite easily determine that a sample has been faked. If they believe the sample to be fake, it will then be further analysed at a laboratory to confirm the status.
ONRSR is committed to safe railways for Australia. We want to make sure all rail safety workers understand their duties under the RSNL and take reasonable care for their own safety and the safety of others by ensuring they are not impaired by drugs or alcohol while undertaking rail safety work. Accredited rail transport operators must have a drug and alcohol management program as part of their safety management system, which includes education and information about drug and alcohol management in the workplace.