Increasing Knowledge Reduces Stress in the Workplace Environment

In a case study by Dr. Holland[1], new drug and alcohol testing procedures in the mining industry were not disputed in the mining workplace, but an incomplete evaluation program certainly was. Since drug and alcohol use (as well as abuse) could be the result of a stressful workplace environment, if regular and randomized testing was to be implemented, the inherent need for stress-free surroundings at work required more than simply submitting samples for drug tests.

However, stress at work can easily be caused by under-qualified and undertrained individuals, coworkers and members of management. At CMM Technology™, in addition to our drug and alcohol testing training and courses, we offer courses in Life Support, Senior First Aid, Cert IV TAA, Manual Handling, Grader, Haul Truck, Chainsaw, Loader, Excavator, and many more. Check out our full list of courses and High Risk licenses here.

Although compliance with drug and alcohol testing helps to make the workplace more efficient, which in turn reduces stress, self education and edification can contribute greatly to calm, steady, peaceful working environments. Both factors are important to achieve high efficiency and to retain high quality employees.

During any type of economic instability, it may seem that training employees “just enough” to get by will at least keep your business afloat. This, however, was not true in more famous examples such as the Exxon Valdez oil tanker, where an under-trained officer ran the ship aground on well-charted Bligh Reef,[2] and the St. Francis dam collapse,[3] where self-taught and under-qualified civil engineer, William Mulholland, built a dam above the St. Francisquito Canyon, in order to provide water for Los Angeles residents. Mulholland was the only one in charge and both the dam and the rock upon which the dam was built were insufficient for the task. In these circumstances, companies and businesses can prevent disaster by providing adequate training, not only in work duties, but also in company and legal protocol. Protocol is set in place to avoid “what if” situations, where chain of command or reactions to unique environments are not clearly defined.

In the above examples, a great amount of damage can be caused in a short amount of time and through improper supervising procedures. Receiving adequate training and courses such as the ones listed above can greatly reduce accidents, injury, death and loss of revenue in high-hazard work environments. Drug and alcohol testing, especially around major holidays, can reduce additional damage due to slowed reaction time, poor judgment and carelessness. Incomplete knowledge can, in some circumstances, be more dangerous than having no knowledge at all. Keep yourself and your employees safe by receiving the proper training and testing.

Call CMM Technology today on +618-9204-2500 to see how we can assist you with your training program.

1. Holland, Peter, Dr., Case Study. Drug Testing in the Australian Mining Industry, Surveillance and Society 1(2): 204-209, accessed Nov. 9, 2010 at: http://www.surveillance-and-society.org/articles1%282%29/drugsmining.pdf

2. Practices that related to the Exxon Valdez. Washington, DC: National Transportation and Safety Board. 18 September 1990. pp. 1–6. http://www.ntsb.gov/Recs/letters/1990/M90_26_31.pdf.

3. Bonander, Ross. “Man-made disasters – AskMen.com Australia.” AskMen.com – Men’s Online Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Nov. 2010. http://au.askmen.com/top_10/top_10_200/216b_top_10_list.html.

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Can Drug and Alcohol Screening in Your Business Save You Money?

Drug and alcohol testing is not always seen as entirely cost-effective. However, it is quite financially efficient. Logically speaking, employees under the influence of illicit substances have consistently lower levels of productivity. Even small areas of low productivity can significantly affect an entire organization. When one part of the business is sluggish, it slows down the remaining departments. In addition to this, better pre-employment strategies, such as drug screening, was found to save a test organization up to $162 per applicant hired among a test group of 2533 applicants, in a study by Zwerling, Ryan and Orav.[1]

In another research project, the total annual loss of productivity due to drug and alcohol abuse was estimated at $100 billion.[2] The research states that two factors have been the leading cause for using urinalysis for drug testing: the growing demand for drug testing in the workforce, and technical developments in drug testing methods, which allow for easier, more widespread and more cost effective testing. At this point, reliable, low-cost testing equipment is necessary and would prevent individual organizations from losing money on their testing programs, rather than increasing income because of them.

Employees under the influence have consistently low levels of job retention. The organization must foot the bill for high employee turnover. Not only does low job retention affect the organization as a whole, but it affects coworkers who retain steady, reliable, trustworthy employment. In a study conducted by David Parish,[3] it was determined that a minimum of 10% higher rate of employee turnover occurred in drug-positive workers than in their negatively-tested counterparts, and that drug-positive office staff were significantly more likely to be fired or to leave without notice than the managerial staff. Organizations are less likely to be able to retain high quality workers when pre-employment testing is not maintained, and office staff is more likely to have a high employee turnover rate than staff in a more professional or managerial capacity, although management also tested positive. This was to a lesser degree, but the difference in drug-positive testing between upper and lower management was not considered due to less usage, but to the lower echelon staff receiving more frequent evaluations from which they could be fired.

At CMM Technology, we offer steady, consistent alcohol and drug testing equipment and training, at an affordable and easily serviceable price. Our services will reduce the stress environment in your business, as well as remain cost-effective.

For expert assistance on a quality workplace drug and alcohol testing solution, contact our team of industry professionals today on (+618) 9204 2500.

1. “JAMA — Abstract: Costs and Benefits of Preemployment Drug Screening, January 1, 1992, Zwerling et al. 267 (1): 91.” JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, a weekly peer-reviewed medical journal published by AMA. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2010. http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/267/1/91.

2. “NCJRS Abstract – National Criminal Justice Reference Service.” National Criminal Justice Reference Service. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2010. http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=132364.

3. Parish, David C.. “Relation of the Pre-employment Drug Testing Result To Employment Status: A One-year Follow-up.” SpringerLink.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2010. www.springerlink.com/content/b442n8x8373164w6/fulltext.pdf.

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Accidents at work

Accidents generally occur as a consequence of unsafe acts or unsafe conditions. Overall, the most common accidents across industries occur as the result of lack of OHS training or lack of compliance to safety protocols. The most common breaches of workplace safety processes include: incorrect manual handling of items; being struck by moving objects; lack of training or inappropriate use of machinery or tools; slips and falls. However, there are other causes of workplace accidents that contribute to high risk. For example:

  • Not wearing appropriate protective clothing
  • Sleep deprivation
  • High risk activities involving heavy machinery
  • Exposure to extreme climate or workplace environment
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals and substances
  • Impaired performance via drug & alcohol misuse
  • And other factors.

Yet, the most serious accidents that results in severe injury or death usually occur in industries which use heavy machinery (such as manufacturing, agriculture and construction) or which involve inherently dangerous work environments (like mining and oil rigs). These “high risk” industries tend to report the causes of workplace accidents arising from*:

  • Employment conditions: i.e. shifts from ‘employee miners’ to ‘contract miners’
  • Reduced union influence regarding OHS
  • Lack of safety and health culture
  • Management or employee breaches of OHS legislation and regulations
  • Lack of adequate training in OHS
  • Inadequate supervision as well as the promotion of inexperienced managers.

To address OHS in your workplace, accident investigations need be thorough. By examining the whole range of potential or actual causes (in addition to safety awareness, OHS promotion and training), safety standards are significantly elevated.

A major step towards preventing and reducing workplace accidents is to identify the leading causes. However, it should be noted that the lists above are by no means exhaustive of the possible causes of workplace accidents. In this way, proper assessment by OHS professionals is highly recommended: indeed, both immediate and longer-term strategies are integral to successful OHS management.

If your workplace is concerned about workplace accidents arising through the misuse or abuse of drugs and alcohol, call CMM Technology today on (+618) 9204 2500 for an effective drug and alcohol management plan.

* Human Resource Management (Fifth Edition)  p. 465

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Miners’ rescue in Chile

Less than a month ago, on 18 October 2010, 33 Chilean miners were rescued from a collapsed mine shaft. Deprived of daylight for over 3-months, the miners reemerged from their dark cocoon attired with specially designed protective eye wear and into the bright spotlight of extensive world media attention and crowd jubilation.

Held for over 69 days deep underground, the men awaited their slow and hazardous rescue by way of a 60cm wide Phoenix Two rescue capsule.  As the last miner finally surfaced, some media and rescue experts began calling the successful rescue operation nothing short of “miraculous”. However, the rescue mission’s positive outcome was not hinged on mere “good luck”, but rather the result of good old fashioned “sweat” and hard work buoyed on an accumulation of industry knowledge, individual professionalism and practical ‘know-how’.

Consisting of engineers, a mining rescue team, medical staff and other professionals, the October Chilean mine rescue was successfully orchestrated by a team of industry experts with specialised training, research, knowledge which galvanized their industrious efforts. Undoubtedly, the intelligence which was gathered at this site will be harnessed to improve future mining practices and engineering techniques. They will also help to improve the corpus of mining rescue knowledge and mining rescue practices.

At CMM Technology, we offer VETAB certified training in current “industry best practice” for mining rescue, Certificate III in Mine Emergency Response and Rescue. Constantly evolving and improving, the mine rescue techniques covered in this course is recommended for those that are just entering the mine rescue field or are longstanding experts that require an update on their previously acquired training, skills and knowledge. The course is also suitable for medical and OHS personnel within the mining field sector and general emergency staff.

For more information or to book this training course, visit Mine Rescue or call CMM Technology on (+618) 9204 2500. CMM Technology also provides quality training and certification for many other “High Risk” industries; visit CMM Technology Training today for more information.

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Industry trend: international market shift and focus towards Asia

Speaking at a press conference in London last October, Vale CEO Roger Agnelli announced Asia will be “the engine for growth” in the mining industry sector. To prepare for the change, the Head of the Brazilian mining company projected that the majority of its revenue (i.e. over 80%) will derive from Asia and therefore, intended to shift its market focus towards Asia within the next five years.

The rapid and relatively recent urbanisation process in China was cited as the main causation of the market shift. Hence, the supplies of raw materials for construction and raw materials for consumer goods were expected to continue in strong demand.

Agnelli further explained, “[w]e already have a strong presence in Asia but we would like to set up an iron ore facility in China. The mayor of Shanghai told me that he would like to bring big international companies over there to compete with Hong Kong…China is not a bubble. There’s no alternative to dependence on China”.

Along with Vale, many international mining companies are expected to accept the mayor of Shanghai’s invitation and shift its market focus onto Australia’s traditional trading partner. Likewise, peripheral industries and other industry sectors (including OHS specialist industries) will undoubtedly be required to meet corresponding increases in regional demand and expertise.

CMM Technology’s well-managed Australasian distribution networks are at the forefront of these industry trends: by building its regional relationships and meeting the increased regional specific service, product and training demands, CMM Technology is leading the way to local, national and regional industry growth which aims to enhance national and global safety standards as well as improve sustainability practices.

Source: http://www.mining-technology.com/news/news99556.html

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Human Resources Management

Human Resources Management (HRM) is principally concerned with managing occupational duties, roles, functions and business strategies in light of an organisation’s vision, core business, employee skill-sets/ qualifications and developments in the external business community and economic environments. HRM is also impacted by an organisation’s size, government legislation, industry sector trends, industrial tribunal rulings, business history, ownership and external political factors. However, in general terms, although there are many internal and external variables which influence HRM, most HR managers and HR departments have  3 quintessential guiding objectives*, including:

  • To achieve a profitable & sustainable organisation
  • To increase workforce competence & commitment
  • To become an employer of choice.

Consequently, an important responsibility of HRM is to ensure that an organisation has the optimal organisational structure and capability to succeed within its industry: this usually entails ensuring the required number of competent employees with appropriate skill-sets deployed at the right time and cost to meet both present and future business requirements.

In this way, HRM is a key component of good business planning. For example, when a HR Manager is provided with the strategic goals of an organisation, they become better equipped to harness, source and develop employee skill-sets to maximize the business’ capabilities to meet its strategic objectives. In this way, HR practitioners need to operate at three distinct levels:

  • Strategic: where HRM is involved in human resource planning and corporate strategy
  • Operational: at this level, HRM is focused on implementing action plans to meet both present labour needs and projected requirements
  • Functional: HRM practitioners facilitate general HR “housekeeping” activities such as interviewing candidates and managing HRIS (Human Resources Information System)

For expert assistance on developing a quality workplace drug and alcohol testing solution to complement your HRM, contact our team of industry professionals today on (+618) 9204 2500.

Mithen J., Edwards D. ‘HR: Creating business solutions’ in Human resources management: strategies and processes (5th edition)

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