On any given day in South Australia, close to 5,000 workers in safety-sensitive industries are turning up to their jobs under the influence of methamphetamines, and predominately ice. And that’s not including other sectors including hospitality and the white-collar workforce.
New drug-testing statistics compiled by SafeWork Laboratories show ice use in South Australia is growing. In 2017, 2.2 per cent of workers tested positive for methamphetamines in safety-sensitive industries – including construction, mining, agriculture, transport and utility services. The number of positive tests increased from 1.8 per cent in 2016.
These figures and information on how to combat ice in the workplace will be discussed at The Ice Age forum at 8am this morning at Business SA, 136 Greenhill Road, Unley.
Business SA is also launching The Ice Age discussion paper, featuring case studies of white collar workers talking about their experiences of using while at work and the impacts it had on their lives.
The discussion paper includes a case study on Vinpac / Dorrien, which was aware it had an ice problem among a small group of its staff. The company went through two years of consultations while preparing a policy to clean up its workforce.
The Ice Age offers advice on creating a workplace drugs policy, along with drug testing information and the signs and symptoms of what to look out for.
At today’s forum, Australian Anti-Ice Campaign director Andre’a Simmons will talk about her battle with ice while running a million-dollar business, which saw her lose her family. She has since rehabilitated, returned to work and reunited with her family but suffers ongoing health problems.
The forum will hear from the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction, based at Flinders University, along with experts on forming workplace drug policies.
Business SA is launching the paper and holding the forum in response to increasing concerns raised by our members and within the business community about ice use.
The figures are alarming. With 226,400 workers in safety-sensitive industries in South Australia, the volume of daily positives represents 5000 workers testing positive.
Nationally in 2017, 1.9 per cent of workers in safety-sensitive industries tested positive, equating to more than 18,500 people on any given day.
Business SA Senior Policy Adviser Estha van der Linden said the figures were a wake-up call for businesses which did not have drug policies in place.
“People who take methamphetamines feel the effect for up to 48 hours, meaning they may not know they are still under the influence. If they are under the influence they would be putting themselves and their colleagues at risk. They may also be unpredictable, have mood swings and be at risk of psychotic episodes,” Ms van der Linden said.
She said employers were legally obliged to ensure workplaces were safe.
“All businesses should consider creating a workplace drugs policy, preparing them for potential accidents or emergencies, or in case they suspect one of their staff members is under the influence.”
Categories: GENERAL News