Fake urine use increasing in the Pilbara

The prevalence of synthetic urine is increasing in the Pilbara as more workers look to get around drug tests.

Police inspector Peter Morrissey explained that the police are finding more of the fake urine amongst people employed in mining, the ABC reports.

"We have been locating small seizures of this substance but [recently] we have undertaken a number of search warrants across the district and the reports that we are getting back from officers is that it is becoming a lot more prevalent," he said.

"They are locating synthetic urine at houses associated with drug dealers and people who use drugs."

Although the urine itself is not illegal, there are concerns it is being used to cheat onsite drug tests.

"As soon as that synthetic urine is used to pass a drug test, the people doing so are committing a fraud offence and obviously also undermining the public health and safety associated with the drug testing regimes," he said.

"It is of concern because most of the people that have been located in possession of this synthetic urine are actually employed in industry and employed with some of the big companies," Morrissey said.

"Obviously, there is a lot of money involved in employment, particularly in the North West, and to safeguard your job by going around it and putting all your employees and workmates in danger is a pretty irresponsible way of dealing with it."

Earlier this year a 26 year old make faced court over charges of tampering with a urine test to score a mining job.

In June a joint operation between WA Police and the Corruption and Crime Commission uncovered a plot to switch urine tests to beat the mining industry's strict drug testing regime.

It's alleged a WA Health Department official and senior members of the Gypsy Joker gang are also involved in the plan.

The Health Department official has been charged with corruption and has already faced court in Tom Price.

Urine testing has also been a contentious issue in the mining industry, with unions pressing to replace it with saliva testing.

According to AMMA chief Steve Knott, the industry is supporting Endeavour Energy's appeal of Fair Work's previous decision, which ruled that companies could only administer saliva based drug tests, despite urine testing proving more effective.

AMMA said this is contradictory to its earlier decision involving HWE Mining, where a tribunal stated that urine testing was more was more accurate had less false negative results.

Last year the industry came under fire for plans to urine test at Caterpillar's Tasmanian manufacturing plant.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union (AMWU) slammed Cat for its decision.

AMWU Tasmanian president Shane Littler said while the union does not oppose the actual drug testing, the method used by Cat is "more focused on controlling the lifestyle of workers outside of work – rather than the workplace."

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