Drugs & Alcohol in the Shearing Industry

In May 2017, the Wool Industry Stakeholder’s Reference Group held a summit to address Drugs & Alcohol in the Shearing Industry. The summit was designed to align with the ongoing work of the reference group and focus on concerns raised by industry regarding the impact of drugs and alcohol on OH&S and industry reputation.

The Stakeholder Reference Group consists of:

  • WoolProducers Australia (WPA);
  • The Shearing Contractors Association of Australia (SCAA);
  • The Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX); and
  • The WA Shearing Industry Association (WASIA)
  • The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF); and
  • The Australian Workers’ Union (AWU).

The group was formed to support farmers, contractors, shearers and shed staff when responding to reports of workplace health and safety risks involving alcohol and drugs through the development of practical guidance materials. The ultimate aim being to protect the farmer, the shearing contractor and the employee from safety issues that arise when someone turns up to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The Summit provided an opportunity for the group to bring together the broader wool industry, provide an update of current work and facilitate feedback.

The group is working on the development of policy for managing drug and alcohol use in the workplace, as presented at the Summit. The remoteness of many properties on which shearing is conducted, combined with the multi-layer structure of the workforce can create confusion around who has responsibility for enforcement, who bears costs and who carries liability. The development of a policy to address this will provide important guidance for all parties to the shearing operation and is a tool that property owners and contractors can utilise to address concerns.

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