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CHRISTCHURCH MAIL, APRIL 18, 2013
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NOWHERE TO HIDE: NZDDA tests 68,000 employees a year.
Photo: PIP BOURKE
By ABBIE NAPIER
SMOKING A joint or popping pills
before your shift is fast becoming a
thing of the past. Canterbury
employers are wising up.
Coverstaff spokesman Clive
Murden said his agency had seen the
call for pre-employment drug screen-
ing tests quadruple since the earth-
We would probably drug test
about 25 people a month before the
quakes, now we re doing 100-plus a
month. It s a significant increase.
As the rebuild picked up pace, con-
struction, engineering and civil
works companies were calling for
Coverstaff recruits and employs
workers, then places them on assign-
ment with a variety of companies.
As part of their health and safety
systems, they want people drug free.
If someone s off their chops,
they re less likely to spot a problem
and more likely to create one, he
More of the work sites are now
red zone sites, and they have to have
a tough line.
The New Zealand Drug Detection
Agency is a privately-owned com-
pany contracted by employers
nationwide to carry out on-site drug
Last year the agency tested more
than 68,000 employees nationwide
(up 31 per cent on 2011), 8266 of
which were in Canterbury -- almost
double those tested in 2011.
Employers can contract tests for
any reason: pre-employment, ran-
dom, after an accident on site, when
an employee exhibits signs of drug
use, or when drugs and parapher-
nalia are found on site.
Most failed Canterbury tests (75
per cent) indicated cannabis, with
opiates (drugs derived from opium)
coming a distant second at 20 per
cent. Tests also checked for metham-
phetamine (P), amphetamine, syn-
thetic cannabis and cocaine.
Mr Murden said about 9 per cent
of Coverstaff tests were failed. But
he said before testing an employee,
they would be asked if they thought
they would pass.
If they say no, we don t test them
and we don t place them at that job.
Of course, if they say no, this is a
massive issue for health and safety
that makes them difficult to employ.
Development gets green light
By ABBIE NAPIER
A $4 MILLION development in
Burnside has been given the go-
ahead by the council and will
hopefully be finished by Christ-
The two-storey complex is to
be built on the corner of Wai-
mairi Rd and Wentworth St, and
replaces a collection of run-down
shops. The modern building will
house two office tenants on the
top floor and three retail or
office tenants on the ground
An exciting development for
the area is the inclusion of a cafe
on the ground floor, facing Wai-
mairi Rd. The other shop-fronts
will open on to Wentworth St.
It was predicted the new
development will work well with
the nearby Ilam shops on the
corner of Waimairi and Maid-
Residents opposite the site
opposed the development during
the consenting process but the
council found more support for
the project in the neighbourhood
than feelings against.
Fortunately for people in the
area, the council has specified
the inclusion of a 26-space park-
ing lot behind the development
at 245 Waimairi Rd which is
likely to take pressure off
residents using street parking.
The cafe has been given con-
sent for an outdoor seating area
on Waimairi Rd and capacity for
60 customers. Operating hours
will be from 7.30am till 6pm and
sound levels will be closely
monitored because of the cafe s
close proximity to homes.
The building is described as a
tilt slab, plastered on the ground
floor with cedar cladding on the
Provisions for landscaping
have been made on the Wai-
mairi Rd frontage and in and
around the parking lot.
First National real estate has
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