Telford tests for drugs and alcohol

Charley Lamb.
Charley Lamb.
Random drug and alcohol testing is being carried out at Telford, director Charley Lamb says. It was introduced to protect students and to bring Telford in line with industry requirements, Prof Lamb said.

Students at Telford, a division of Lincoln University, have been subject to the tests since January. Prof Lamb said the drug testing was prompted by a desire to improve safety for students and to be in line with the requirements of several industries.

''We do have forestry training, and it [drug and alcohol testing] is mandatory in the forestry industry. Our students are also operating tractors, chainsaws ... it's a lesson in safety practices.''

He said several tests had already been done, and all students randomly selected had tested negative.

Staff had been trained to test urine samples. Each time a random sample is taken from the student data base. The minimum of three students are tested, although the number varied, he said.

Prof Lamb declined to say how often the tests were carried out.

Telford's parent organisation Lincoln University did not do drug and alcohol testing, but Prof Lamb said Telford offered vocational training.

''It's becoming common in so many of our industries - forestry, aviation, construction - and it's only a matter of time before the dairy industry starts testing too.''

It took Telford a year to establish the policy and protocols around testing, and to train its staff.

Students who test positive to drugs or alcohol will be subject to Telford's disciplinary process, as with the breaking of any other rules, such as when committing vandalism. The rules around drugs and alcohol were very clear, Prof Lamb said.

On January 1, 2011, Telford Rural Polytechnic - which was founded in 1964 as a farm training institute - became Telford, a division of Lincoln University, New Zealand's third-oldest university.

helena.dereus@odt.co.nz

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