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More workers face random drug and alcohol tests under new health and safety laws

Having big nights out on the town could soon be a thing of the past as more and more employers take a zero tolerance stance on drugs and alcohol, says a leading employment lawyer.

Christie Hall, Ernst and Young's employment law leader says random drug testing, once predominantly used in dangerous industries like forestry will become more common in other jobs when new health and safety laws are introduced.

Andrew Little says the government is afraid of the farming lobby. Source: 1 NEWS

"Randon drug testing is becoming increasingly common. It used to be restricted to safety sensitive areas," Ms Hall told TVNZ's Breakfast programme this morning.

"I think you'll get a lot of employers saying what we do is safety sensitive so we can randomly test".

Employees will be obligated to take random drug and alcohol tests if clear drug and alcohol expectations are included in employment contracts, says Ms Hall.

"If you've signed up to the policy; if there's a clear policy in place; if the employers have made very clear their expectations - if you then refuse a drug or alcohol test there will be consequences."

Randon drug testing also opens up the question of whether an employee is actually impaired in carrying out their work if they have the drug in their system, she says.

Last night ONE News revealed up to a quarter of workers on building sites in Christchurch are failing drug tests, and the numbers are rising sharply.

7.5 per cent of people in the Canterbury construction sector are failing drug screening. Source: 1 NEWS

Big nights out on the town could soon be a thing of the past as more employers take a zero stance to drugs and alcohol. Source: 1 NEWS