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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Alert24 - Safeguard Update

TAIC lays down a challenge

TAIC lays down a challenge
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New Zealand

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission has issued four recommendations to curb drug and alcohol use in the transport sector and says it will keep a watching brief on the issue each year until regulators respond.

TAIC’s new Watch List also highlights its concerns in two other areas: it wants to see operators of aircraft, boats and ships making more use of locator and tracking devices, and it wants a licensing system for recreational skippers so they can demonstrate an understanding of safe boating.

On the impairment issue, TAIC says there is ample evidence that consumption of drugs and alcohol impairs judgement, decision-making ability and reaction times, and that use of performance-impairing substances poses a significant risk in the rail, maritime and aviation sectors.

While the Ministry of Transport supports zero tolerance of operator impairment, says TAIC, the arrangements made by operators within the transport sector are uneven, and are not adequate to manage the risk.

“We believe more can be done in the transport sector to prevent people who are in safety-critical roles being under the influence of performance-impairing substances.”

The publication says that in the 10 years to the start of 2014, TAIC has investigated eight rail, maritime or aviation incidents in which a safety-critical person has tested positive; 41 people died in the incidents. It is also frustrated by its inability to require survivors to be tested for performance-impairing substances.

TAIC says regulators and operators need a set of measures to prevent substance impairment in people who perform safety-critical tasks in the aviation, rail and maritime sectors – including recreational boating. As a minimum, it calls for arrangements to:

  • Set maximum limits for alcohol;
  • Prohibit substance-impaired people from operating aircraft, vessels or rail vehicles;
  • Require operators to implement drug and alcohol detection regimes, including random testing;
  • Prescribe post-incident testing requirements for drugs and alcohol.

In the Dominion Post, TAIC chief commissioner John Marshall said of the fourth point: “It is simply wrong that the commission, regulators or police cannot require blood tests of people who survive the occurrences we deal with.”

Watch List concludes: “The risk of performance-impairing substances contributing to further transport accidents and incidents will remain unacceptably high until the regulatory environment deals properly with this safety issue.”

People Mentioned:
John Marshall
Organisations Mentioned:
Transport Accident Investigation Commission
Reference No:

From Alert24 - Safeguard Update

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