By Alison Williams of HR Advance (http://hradvance.com.au)
A report last week that one in five tradies may be “stoned” on cannabis while on site serves as a reminder to employers they must ensure workers are not putting their own and their workmates’ safety at risk.
A third of the participants in the web-based survey by the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre believed cannabis use had a significant impact on work skills and safety. This figure increased to almost half (49%) of those survey participants who admitted to using cannabis before or during work. Note: Cannabis has been linked to impaired thinking, loss of balance and coordination, decreased concentration and impaired ability to complete complex tasks.
Cannabis use in trade occupations is just one aspect of the pervasiveness of drug and alcohol use in Australian society. A recent Victorian poll found out-of-hours drug use is affecting one in 10 workers on the job or causing them to take sick days. In the past 12 months it is likely:
- 13% of people drove a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol
- 5% went to work
- 1.4% operated dangerous machinery
- almost 6% verbally abused someone
- 1.1% physically abused someone
And, in the past 12 months, while under the influence of drugs:
- 18% of people drove a vehicle
- 12% went to work
- 3.8% operated dangerous machinery
- almost 5% verbally abused someone and
- 14% physically abused someone.
(Source: 2010 National Drug Strategy Household Survey report)
Employers are turning to workplace drug and alcohol testing, with its use increasing rapidly at the rate of 25-30% each year (Stark, 2010; Davey, 2012).
Testing and performance management go together
If you have a concern about alcohol or drug use in the workplace, or workers being affected by out-of-hours drug or alcohol use, then you must consider this within a performance management regime. This applies also to the results of drug or alcohol testing – managing the worker’s performance and health and safety risk is the desired outcome.
Watch our new video on managing drugs and alcohol in the workplace and download our Infographic for future reference.
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