The Fitness for Duty changes as supported by Safe Work Australia and the National Mine Safety Framework, will necessitate consent from the majority of the workforce prior to introducing urine testing for drugs.
Currently, urine testing for drugs is allowed at the discretion of the employer.
Industry group, the Australian Metals and Mining Association, is concerned that mining safety throughout the country will be jeopardized if the changes are passed.Andrew Vickary, from the CFMEU, believes the move is a didactic one for employers.Vicary asserted that getting very inebriated on a Friday evening would not affect Monday’s productivity if the employee was sober on the Monday. Furthermore, it would not be a safety risk.
He expanded by stating that an employee would not be a safety risk if they smoked marijuana weeks earlier on a long service leave, since the substance would not be present enough in the system as to warrant impairment.
As we enter the Holiday season; some may risk over-indulging in the festivities which could potentially have a harmful effect on the workplace. In the event that the celebrations seep into the workplace, it is important to have the right training in dealing with issues pertaining to Fitness for Duty.
Now is as good a time as any to refresh your employees on the current drug and alcohol work policy or introduce a new program into your workplace. AlertForce is dedicated to effectively educating and informing staff about the effects of drugs and alcohol in the workplace. Our Fitness for Duty training will explore the many issues pertaining to drugs and alcohol in the workplace and will ensure that your business meets the OH&S/HSE requirements.
The amount of workplace accidents that occur because of alcohol and drug use is bewildering. Alertforce offers quick, concise, and above all — effective, training that is specific to employees. Alertforce also offers the same in-depth training program for managers and supervisors. Each program brings and indepth understanding to the consequences of alcohol and drug use in the workplace
Affectively understanding drug and alcohol policy can ensure that you legally and morally deal with the issues in a manner which benefits both the company and the employee. Alcohol and drug use in the workplace can lead to high costs in dealing with injuries, truancy, lost production, workers compensation, and finally, rehabilitation (Safework.sa.gov.au).
According to the International Labour Association…
about a quarter all injuries in the workplace are a product of drug and alcohol use. Furthermore, an estimated 300k employees in Australia are said to partake in drugs and alcohol. If that isn’t a frightening enough concept, up to 15 per cent of fatal work place injuries are a result of alcohol/drug abuse.
Those who do not follow the workplace drug and alcohol policy can end up injuring themselves and others, can lose their jobs and ultimately, their families.
According to SafeWork, those who abuse harmful substances are much more likely to recover from their addiction if they are employed. Thus it is best to take preventative action now before the use of drugs and alcohol result in loss of employment.
Drug and Alcohol use is covered by the (South Australian Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1986). Which states:• employers to maintain their health, safety and welfare at work, of their employees by provision of a safe working environment and safe systems of work (Section 19) • Safeguarding of the public from risks to health or safety arising from or in connection with the activities of those at work or the use or operation of various types of plant (Section 3) • employers to prepare and maintain policies relating to occupational health, safety and welfare at the workplace (Section 20) • employees to take reasonable care of the health and safety of others and to co operate with employers in their efforts to comply with occupational health and safety requirements and to ensure they are not, by use of alcohol or a drug, in a state which may endanger their own safety or the safety of any other person at work. (Safework.sa.gov.au).
Enjoy your holiday celebrations but ensure that you know and understand your workplace Drug and Alcohol policy. Quality training is available. Remember it is a time of celebration, not a time of tragedy. Don’t go overboard on the office party eggnog !
A study has shown that one-tenth of people regularly consume alcohol while on the ‘job’. This was the first study of drug and alcohol consumption in workplaces throughout Australia. According to Ken Pidd, deputy director of the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction, numerous individuals believe that consuming alcohol at their workplace would not impede on their fitness for duty.
Pidd’s study was conducted on nearly 1000 workers, with the aforementioned percentage of people claiming to regularly consume alcohol on the job. 5.6 per cent of workers said they were ‘ under the influence’.
While Pidd is surprised at the figures he attributes the results to the number of workers who enjoy “after-work drinks” in office.
Despite this, Pidd stated that fatalities still occur to and from the office, which insurance still covers.
He said the study could not differentiate between those that occasionally used alchol at work and those that usually did.
Managers can benefit from drug and alcohol awareness training so they are alert to changes in performance and changes in patterns of attendance.
Drugs and alcohol can affect a worker’s fitness for duty. Some drugs will mean workers respond to some things quickly – others cause workers to not react at all. Some drugs will stop a worker from walking properly, or standing up, or staying awake. Some drugs will make a person unconscious, or even die.
All drugs can be harmful and can affect the way the body works and how the mind thinks. For this reason, you have to be very sure that any drugs workers are taking will not put them or anyone else in danger in the workplace.
If they are given a drug they need by the doctor, and they are taking it as the doctor has instructed, it can help them do their job better. For example, if they have asthma, and use their medication properly, it can mean they will not have an asthma attack so they do not have to take time off work.
If workers have epileptic fits from time to time, the tablets the doctor prescribes can stop this happening, making work safer for them and for others.
Using alcohol or drugs at work can affect fitness for duty, causing workers to make mistakes. This can cause big problems. They or other people could get hurt, or the work they do might have to be thrown out and done again by someone else. This would mean that your workplace loses money.
Drug and alcohol awareness training can help managers recognise signs of drug use. Here are some things that can happen at work if workers use drugs that they should not use, or drink alcohol, affecting fitness for duty:
- workers could hurt themselves or anyone else around the workplace.
- workers could make a mistake with their work and cause your workplace lose a lot of money.
- it can have a bad effect on you and others around them
A few of the things that could happen to workers if they take drugs they should not be taking, or drink alcohol at work, are:
- they can get very tired and stop thinking clearly.
- their speech could get slurred.
- they can feel sick and could vomit.
- they can stop thinking quickly and become unsafe.
- they can start to feel very confused and act differently than they normally would.
- they may move more slowly than usual.
- they could get angry
- they won’t be able to operate machinery and equipment safely and could have an accident.
Managers should consider drug and alcohol awareness training to prevent unfortunate mishaps at work. For example, workers who take drugs or drink alcohol at work could also have a bad effect on other people:
- they might make someone else have an accident
- a worker might ruin someone else’s work or property
- they could scare other people or they might feel uncomfortable
- other workers may not want to work with them
You must always be able to safely carry out your duties in a fit state and not cause increased risk to yourself or others.
This also includes being ‘in readiness for work’ if you are placed on an on-call roster. You must be able to demonstrate that you are fit for work. You must immediately notify a supervisor or manger if you have any concerns about your current or potential fitness to work safely.
It is important that you are aware of your legal requirement to take reasonable care of the health and safety of others and to co operate with your employers efforts to comply with occupational health and safety requirements and to ensure you are not in a state which may endanger your own safety or the safety of any other person at work. (more…)
SAN FRANCISCO—An employer can order a fitness-for-duty exam when a worker’s emotional stability is in question, even when job performance has not been affected, a federal appellate court ruled. (more…)