Does The New Tech Age Still Find Testing Relevant?

Of course it does. We are a company which sells drug and alcohol testing equipment. We certainly would not tell you otherwise. On a more serious note: we will explain why. Research by Murphy, Thornton and Reynolds shows us a detailed picture of how drug and alcohol testing in the workplace is seen by employees. [1] They found that factors such as experience, abuse by other individuals, politics, job experience and qualifications were all irrelevant. They simply did not factor into the personal perspectives of the staff at all. However, personal drug and alcohol abuse was positively correlated with negative reactions to testing, as well as inconsistent expectations of who is tested. In other words, if there was a disparity of testing or frequency of testing between management and lower-level employees, the testing procedures were seen in a strongly negative light, even by some members of management.

This research applies to the current age of high-tech innovation, even though drug and alcohol testing in the workplace is still gaining wider and wider acceptance across all industries.

What does this mean for you and your business? It is important to recognize the human aspect of every single company, no matter how technologically advanced or modern it is. A robot is not reading this blog; you are. You encounter feelings of competitiveness, jealousy, aggression, creativity, innovation, ideology, and hope. You may be able to completely shut these parts of humanity down for long periods of time, but not permanently. You still must interact with others inside of working, familial and economical communities. Your job must be seen, by you, as something worthwhile, gainful and positive. If other coworkers are receiving better treatment simply because they outrank you, then your urge to fight back is strong. If you are denied the freedom to show up to work drunk, then you may view company policy on drug and alcohol testing as complete ignorance.

The human aspect of innovative technology will never leave. There will always be individuals who abuse drugs and alcohol, and efficiently running businesses will always need to employ regular drug and alcohol testing procedures in order to remain efficient. The weaknesses, fragility, stresses and power of human interaction requires this need to be filled. Your company is a living, breathing organism of growth and productivity, and testing keeps this organism alive and flourishing.

1. “COLLEGE STUDENTS’ATTITUDES TOWARD EMPLOYEE DRUG TESTING PROGRAMS.” Wiley Online Library. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2011. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1744-6570.1990.tb02399.x/abstract.

Contact CMM Technology today: +618-9204-2500.

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Does It Matter If Lower Level Employees Are Abusing Substances?

There exists a hierarchy in just about every company or business. This hierarchy begins at the “bottom rung” of the ladder, continues up through permanent staff, lower level managers, upper level managers, and corporate executives. If one lacks experience or a dependable work ethic, then even job transfer does not necessarily mean that placement will occur at a mid-level position. You must start out working the menial, lower level jobs, build your credibility and reputation with the company, bring in money for your business, and then promotion is a possibility. Lower level employees, especially employees who have been fired from previous jobs, are generally considered to be the most unreliable, the most likely to leave or transfer and the most “flighty.”

If the above stereotypical situation is true for your business, then less care and attention is placed on whether lower level staff may be abusing drugs or alcohol. If they are temporary employees and incompetent anyway, then they may merely be shut out from important decision-making and otherwise be left to accomplish what they will. This is a mistake. You must not become casual or lazy about holding your employees accountable for their actions…or lack thereof.

Douglas Cowherd and David Levine wrote an article on distributive justice theory, which is a philosophical standing about goods and resources distributed among a community. [1] Distributive justice theory describes how individual contribution is secondary to the more important issue of total outcome and how this outcome becomes available to everyone, not just a select few. Yes, this may seem to be a light version of communism, however, Cowherd and Levine describe how pay distribution between lower and upper level managers is correlated with personal investment in the company itself. When the differences in income are great, then lower level employees invest far less time, energy and attention to the quality and output of the business. When the differences in income are small, every member of the team is happy to chip in and make a much higher contribution.

All levels of your business are important and your lower level employees should be treated with the same amount of respect and appreciation as your upper management. This is also true with regard to accountability. Make sure that everyone is regularly tested for drug and alcohol abuse with quality equipment from CMM Technology. Call us today: +618-9204-2500.

1. “Product Quality and Pay Equity Between Lower-level Employees and Top Management: An Investigation of Distributive Justice Theory.” JSTOR. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 May 2011. http://www.jstor.org/pss/2393226.

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Does a Small Amount of Substance Abuse Really Affect the Workplace?

We all have our little habits in which we should not indulge. Some of us drive a couple of miles over the speed limit on a regular basis. Some of us tell a few white lies to smooth out the kinks in our day. Some of us use excuses to account for being late or even just being lazy. However, these little habits can only be used sparingly, because if we indulged in them too often, our personal and professional relationships would deteriorate. Our spouses would begin to distrust us, we would be accountable to the law, or we would be seen as weak or needy. So the question arises: As long as it is kept in check, does a small amount of substance abuse actually put your job in jeopardy?

The answer is: Not necessarily…in the beginning. Any habit can be kept hidden and kept under control if it is used sparingly and infrequently. Anyone can cover up just about anything if they can maintain outward appearances and if their behavior does not change noticeably. However, everyday interactions, such as those occurring at work or in the home, can lead to detection by coworkers or family members. In other words, your abuse has to be extremely small for it to not be noticed.

The problem with any type of drug or alcohol abuse is that it is almost never used sparingly and it is usually abused in larger amounts as time progresses. An article on drug abuse describes how even small amounts of drug and alcohol abuse can cause a variety of simultaneous neurological, physiological and psychological reactions within your system, encouraging you to become dependent quickly. [1] If substance abuse is used sparingly in your life to handle particularly difficult days, then it is very likely to then be used to handle less stressful occurrences, and then simply abused due to addiction. It is important to realize that this is not just another little white lie or speeding ticket. The combination of effects on the body is a powerful force, tempting you to return, even after you have recovered completely from a history of drug or alcohol abuse.

Of course, there is always the chance that your boss will require random drug testing on or near the time of your infrequent relapses. Employers use regular drug and alcohol testing to keep this type of behavior in check. Contact CMM Technology today: +618-9204-2500.

1. “Drug Abuse: Hedonic Homeostatic Dysregulation.” ScienceMag.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 May 2011. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/278/5335/52.short.

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Are Your Employees on Psilocybin Mushrooms?

Psilocybin mushrooms are often abused by teenagers and young adults. The fungi produce temporary, rarely addictive hallucinogenic effects within the system. Vision and hearing are skewed, often producing halos around objects and bringing vivid understanding of cadence and melodic progression in music. As with any hallucinogen, the mood of the user and the environment surrounding the mind altering experience are frequently tied into the perception of the “trip.” Good trips are usually the result of a positive environmental setting and perhaps positive comradeship, while bad trips are linked with negative surroundings, fear and bad memories. The personality of the user also comes into play when adjusting for the positive or negative outcome.

Magic mushroom or “shrooms” are typically abused by the young and their non-addictive properties decrease potential danger of rampant use. The body becomes extra-tolerant to the effects of the psilocybin mushrooms, and many more times the original dosage is needed for the same effect on the mind. This occurs soon after the initial abuse and the mushrooms are seldom abused for long periods of time. However, even temporary hallucinations can negatively affect your business and definitely have the potential for harm in the following areas:

  • Mismanagement of heavy machinery
  • Absence of safety protocols
  • Inappropriate behavior with respect to clients
  • Low productivity
  • Absence from work and/or arriving late
  • Low quality of work
  • Giving false or misleading information
  • Slow reflexes
  • Being unable to discern a dangerous situation

Of course, there are more serious side effects which can occur from abusing “shrooms.” In a study on myocardial infarction, the authors describe how psilocybin mushrooms can cause heart attack and arrhythmia. [1] The effect of psychedelic drugs on the heart and brain are well known, and magic mushrooms are no exception. A second case report describes the correlation between psilocybin mushrooms and renal failure. [2] Renal failure is kidney dysfunction, where the kidneys are not able to properly filter the blood in an effective manner, causing toxic buildup and the inability to heal properly or fight off infection or viruses.

If your employees are exhibiting strange, distorted or “high” behavior, immediately have them tested for drug or alcohol abuse. Typically, psilocybin mushrooms are used in conjunction with marijuana, alcohol and other drugs. If you are looking for a quality company which produces drug and alcohol testing equipment, CMM Technology is right for you. Call us today: +618-9204-2500.

1. “Clinical Toxicology – 36(1-2):47 – Summary .” Informa Healthcare. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 May 2011. http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/15563659809162584.

2. “Magic Mushrooms: Hope for a ‘cheap high’ resulting in end-stage renal failure.” Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 May 2011. http://ndt.oxfordjournals.org/content/11/11/2324.full.pdf.

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Are Hallucinogens In Your Workplace?

Hallucinogens are a step above the typical low-key drugs found on the jobsite. Hallucinogens severely impair cognitive function and sensory perception. Visual and motor skills become distorted, skewed, and warped, not to mention the completely fabricated hallucinations which can arise at any moment, due to the psychological effects of the drugs. Typically, hardcore abuse of hallucinogens is pretty detectable at work, since the individual simply is unable to function like a normal adult in everyday life. However, you might be wondering where this problem arises in the first place and how it can be effectively eliminated.

First, you should know that hallucinogens are somewhat misnamed. Hallucinations are actually completely fictional and they are perceived as reality. The individual cannot determine the difference between reality and the altered perception of reality. Hallucinations are caused by deliriants, which include atropine and diphenhydramine hydrochloride (DPH, or DHM). Hallucinogens alter reality in a distorted, psychedelic manner, which is obvious to the individual experiencing these illusions. Hallucinogen abuse is easy to pick out in the workplace, because it is extremely difficult for the employee to not exhibit abnormal behavior. Deliriants may be much more difficult to observe, since the individual may not be aware that reality has changed and they may still exhibit normal behavior and be able to perform most functions of work without detecting their illusion. [1]

Hallucinogens fall under the category of psychedelics and dissociatives. Psychedelics, such as LSD and PCP, alter reality or familiar memories and associations. Dissociatives, like Ketamine and Methorphan, can also alter perceptions, but they bring on a dissociative state as well, and usually act as depressants. Employees who are acting depressed or drunk may not be intoxicated with alcohol, but on a type of dissociative drug. You do not need to be an expert in order to identify abnormal behavior. If you are in a managerial position, you have learned to watch for the signs of individual personal problems in your staff. It is in the best interest of your company to make sure that these personal problems do not become public incidents. You have a professional, solid image to uphold. [2]

CMM Technology offers high quality drug and alcohol testing equipment and we can refer you to a reliable onsite testing service, so that you do not have to schedule responsible corporate protocol around your business. Convenience and trustworthiness will streamline your efforts to create a safe, creative working environment. Contact CMM Technology today: +618-9204-2500.

1. Glennon RA. Classical drugs: an introductory overview. In Lin GC and Glennon RA (eds). Hallucinogens: an update. National Institute on Drug Abuse: Rockville, MD, 1994.

2. Pender, John W. (November 1970). “Dissociative Anesthesia”. California Medicine 113 (5): 73. PMC 1501800. PMID 18730444.

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Are Depressant Drugs Safer than Stimulant Drugs?

Drugs and alcohol have a reputation for being available in a variety of dangerous forms. Some drugs are said to be more dangerous than others and higher concentrations of alcohol are said to be more dangerous than lower concentrations. Is this a fear-based mentality or are some substances really more life threatening than others? For our research, we turn to the central nervous system and examine which has the higher risk of fatality.

Drugs come in two forms, uppers and downers, and alcohol is a well-known downer and so will be classified accordingly. Stimulants or uppers increase mental and physical functioning, speed and energy. Depressants or downers decrease mental and physical functions, slowing reflexes, and exhibiting as sluggishness. Some depressants come in anesthetic forms which can be used in surgery for short periods of time. Depressants occur in two pharmacological categories, barbiturates and benzodiazepines, both of which are used to cure anxiety attacks, stress reactions, sleep disorders and hyperactivity. Stimulants, such as dextroamphetamine and methylphenidate, increase heart rate, blood pressure, alertness and respiration. [1]

Logically speaking, respiratory function and heart rate can be sped up or slowed down to such an extent that death occurs. Some claims have been made that depressants are not nearly as hazardous to oneself or to others as a corresponding dosage of stimulant. This is incorrect, as the physiology of the body with respect to its environment and emotional status has been thwarted and unnaturally altered. Stimulants may be more apparent to coworkers in a high-risk industry, but depressants are equally responsible for mismanagement of equipment, workplace fatality and overdoses. It is important to remember that at some point, the brain ceases to be able to control the body as much as it requires in order to stay safe, healthy and alive…no matter which “category” of drug is being abused.

Most importantly, taking or abusing depressants and stimulants together is extremely dangerous and can result in cardiac arrest or complete loss of the ability to breathe. Stimulants act on the system by increasing all team functions at one time, and depressants decrease all balanced functions at one time. If overdose does not occur, the individual is able to stay alive due to all parts of their system staying balanced with respect to each other. However, taking stimulants and depressants together will unpredictably speed up some functions while slowing down others. The combination can be deadly, and there may not be enough time to call the emergency medical services.

Contact CMM Technology today for high quality drug and alcohol testing equipment for your business: +618-9204-2500.

1. “Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants and Stimulants – Prescription Drugs and Pain Medications: Part 2 of 3.” SpineUniverse. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 June 2011. http://www.spineuniverse.com/treatments/medication/central-nervous-system-cns-depressants-stimulants.

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Your Policy and Products

Current views on workplace drug and alcohol policies point to a range of initiatives that suit the individual needs of a particular business or industry site/model. Rather than a single-focus approach that templates out a drug and alcohol policy in a generic fashion, each specific industry or business requires the address of multiple factors that keep abreast of current research, views and legislative and legal issues relating to AOD’s and their impact on a workplace’s health and safety. Such an approach mitigates employer responsibilities in light of duty of care and allows for appropriate protection against potential litigation or culpability.

While this is true, the underpinnings of a multi-faceted approach must be founded on current guides and legalities that outline employers’ roles and responsibilities in a clear fashion. For example, employers must ensure “the health and welfare of all employees by providing:

  • A safe workplace environment
  • Safe work systems and procedures
  • Information, instruction, training and supervision of all employees
  • A process of consulting with employees, involving them in decisions and informing them of decisions that may affect their health and safety
  • Processes for identifying hazards, assessing risks and elimination or control of risks
  • Processes for regular review of risk control measures.[1]

The details of the actual machinations and implementation of these facets of the approach may be site specific, whilst the legislative guidelines and underpinnings remain fixed. The approach to drug and alcohol policy development links in with the need for a clear identification of hazards and risks, and the elimination and control of these risks. Constructive address of this may indeed involve drug-testing. In short, “the decision to use alcohol and other drug testing should be made in consultation with employees, OHS representatives and union representatives. Agreement may be sought where a risk assessment has identified that there are risks involved in undertaking certain activities whilst under the influence of alcohol and other drugs.”[2]

The mode of testing required will depend on site, site culture, remoteness, economic considerations, gender issues and a host of other factors. Portable testing products, on-site wall fitted units, oral saliva testing or urinalysis testing are just a small selection of options and considerations that businesses, industry and work environments need to consider when modeling a drug testing program as part of an overall risk management strategy and OHS policy.

CMM Technology offers a range of testing products that can be adapted to individualized workplace AOD procedures and policies.

Alcohol testing products such as the hand-held Alcosense Precision Breathalyser, engineered with an electrochemical fuel cell that “can measure the concentration of alcohol exhaled from human breath precisely and accurately to three decimal points,” is a portable and cost-effective unit particularly suited to small business that may not require the overheads of a more advanced and stationary breathalyser model.[3] It portability may also be favoured by law enforcement and the medical profession.

Alternatively, the Wall Mounted Breathalyser BTA-30-DAS-I is a high end model favoured in heavy industry where a rugged, fast and accurate mode of breath testing is required. The rapid throughput (with two tests per minute) allows for installation at site gates, therefore streamlining and minimising the intrusion of alcohol breath testing in a large-scale workplace or environment. This model requires no off-site recalibration, which leads to both time and cost savings for larger businesses and industries.

If you would like to know more about developing a tailored policy and sourcing high quality drug and alcohol testing products that suit your business, telephone specialist staff at CMM Technology on 08 9204 2500.


[1]http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/formspublications/publications/Documents/drugs_alcohol_workplace_guide_1359.pdf

[2] Ibid. P. 11.

[3]http://cmm.com.au/drug-alcohol-testing-alcohol-testing-alcosense-precision-breathalyser-p-93.html?cPath=43_52

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Workplace Wellbeing

CMM Technology prides itself in keeping abreast of latest research into industry best practice. In recent years, the move towards Workplace Wellbeing has become a central tenet of progressive and successful industries, organisations, corporations and businesses, and needs to be considered as part of an appropriate and preventative approach to stress and drug and alcohol use in the workplace.

So, what are our aims for a healthy workplace? How do we develop a workplace environment that incorporates current research into wellbeing and workplace contentment, as well as employee health and optimum performance?

Recent research into neuroscience has vast and revolutionary implications for workplace wellbeing and productivity. In his recent visit to Australia, Dr. Dan Siegel, Professor at the UCLA School of Medicine and author of the bestselling Mind sight, stated we can do a great deal to improve the wellbeing of our adult population through the development and implementation of simple wellbeing practices that strengthen brain and mind integration and social and emotional health of all employees.[1] These practices can be adapted to the workplace easily and efficiently and with minimum cost.

Likewise, HR specialist and consultant, Michael Carroll, author of The Mindful Leader applies these key principles of wellbeing to organisations and business leaders, stating that such strategies can indeed cultivate courage and confidence in the workforce, as well as heal toxic workplaces cultures where stress, alcohol and/or drug usage and a lack of balance obstructs productivity, joy and camaraderie.[2] Citing the example of the Monash University Medical School study, where 60% of medical interns were exhibiting symptoms of extreme burnout, Carroll reveals how these burnout symptoms – were actually lessened when the interns were introduced to simple breath and relaxation exercises.[3] This view is also echoed by Professor Barbara Pocock from the University of South Australia.[4] Pocock’s recent 2010 study revealed a balanced approach to work and life and holidays is important for ongoing employee health and satisfaction.

In addition, it is vital to develop a program of drug and alcohol monitoring that acts as a foundation for the continual monitoring and consequent intervention and rehabilitation wellbeing programs that may be required for employees. An approach that incorporates wellbeing, as well as appropriate testing procedures may indeed help with the ongoing productivity and health of a work community and a work population.

Call CMM Technology on 08 92042500 for up to date and cutting-edge information on testing procedures and wellbeing and health approaches for your business or industry


[1] Siegel, Dr. Daniel. Mindsight. Random House, 2009.

[2] Carroll, Michael.  The Mindful Leader, 2007.  Shambala Publications, Boston Massechusetts.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Pocock, Barbara, Skinner, Natalie and Pisaniello,Sandra. How much should we work: Working hours, holidays and working life: the participation challenge. The Australian Work and  Life Index 2010.

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Workforce Development- Are you up to date?

The approach to alcohol and other drugs has undergone seismic shifts in the workplace

culture in Australia over the past decade. Where once privacy and individual rights prevented any workplace exploration or employer involvement in these issues, today the need for safety and assured risk reduction are seen as presiding factors that have the potential to override former. As Occupational Health and Safety and Risk Management move from a peripheral to centre-stage concern for senior-management, the need for drug and alcohol programs and approaches that correlate with these has become essential.  Broadly speaking, Ann Roche, Director of the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA) at Flinders University states there is now the need for a set of “conceptual building blocks of workplace development,” that involves not only training, but “organizational development, change management, evidence-based knowledge transfer and skill development.” [1]

Workforce development is a broad umbrella term used to encapsulate a wide range of factors pertaining to individuals and the organisations within which they operate and the systems that surround them

WFD Strategies must operate on four levels to be effective:

Level 1             Systems (e.g., funding, legislation)

Level 2             Organisations (e.g., policies, resources, supervision)

Level 3             Teams (e.g., support, cohesion)

Level 4             Individuals (e.g., motivation, skill, rewards).[2]

In this sense, workforce development moves beyond a consideration of the individual or singular problem, and addresses the systemic and multilayered factors that create either a culture of optimal workplace wellbeing and performance, or a workplace that is unwittingly contributing to the stress and AOD issues or practices of those overseeing the drug and alcohol issues in a particular workplace, as well as the employees. As Broome et al. note, a systemic workforce development approach will include “both structural features and staff perceptions of personal efficacy, organizational climate, and communal workplace practices, which will then relate to better overall client engagement. These findings add further evidence that treatment providers should also address the workplace environment for staff as part of quality-improvement efforts.”[3]

A constant review and feed-backing of information concerning approaches to drug and alcohol issues is therefore essential. Refinement, re-evaluation, re-consideration and openness to address concerns with an “open-door policy” result in the best outcomes for all. In many cases, given the sensitive nature of AOD in the workplace, an effective Workforce Development Program may require outsourcing of drug testing in order to maintain employee satisfaction, contentment and reduced conflict or comprises to the process.

Effectiveness outcomes for organisations can be summed up in terms of a “provision of high quality services that meet clients’ needs and a provision of policies, procedures and resources

to support and improve workers’ skills & abilities.”[4]

CMM Technology stays abreast of latest insights into Workforce Development and understands the need for the provision of high quality provisions and resources that may help to support and improve your workforce’s abilities and skills.

Call CMM Technology on 08 9204 2500 for more information.


[1] Roche, A.M. What is This Thing Called Workforce Development? http://www.nceta.flinders.edu.au/pdf/proceedings2001/roche.pdf

[2] Workforce Development Tips. Theory Into Practice Strategies. A Resource Kit for the Alcohol and Other Drugs Field. http://www.nceta.flinders.edu.au/pdf/TIPS/01-Introduction.pdf

[3] Broome, K. Flynn , P. M., Knight., D. K., and Simpson, D. D.

Program Structure, Staff Perceptions, and Client Engagement in Treatment. Institute of Behavioural Research, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth. USA.

[4] Workforce Development Tips. Theory Into Practice Strategies. A Resource Kit for the Alcohol and Other Drugs Field. http://www.nceta.flinders.edu.au/pdf/TIPS/01-Introduction.pdf

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Where Is He?

Absenteeism is an ongoing concern for industry.

The work day is just beginning, and management has a plan for the day’s schedule and tasks. Everything is ready to go and the team is keen to get on with the job. Then…there’s the phone call…or…worst case scenario…the absence of one!   One of the key employees has not arrived.

The job – which has a pressing deadline – will not be completed on time.

Sound familiar?

In the 1990’s a number of American reports focused on the link between days off and alcohol and drug use. Hoffman and Larison’s research showed that “field studies have consistently linked alcohol and drug abuse to higher rates of absenteeism; they also provide evidence of an association between alcohol and perhaps other drug use and increased rates of accidents.”[1]

Organisation and business productivity is connected to the health of employees, and the Australian Bureau of statistics maintains unapproved absences and sick leave account for just over 35% of all leave taken.[2] While the figure is down when compared to twenty years ago, the ongoing cost to business remains high.

Four Major Causes of Absenteeism are:

  • Balancing work/life issues
  • Stress
  • An entitlement mentality
  • Personal needs/family issues.

In many cases drug and alcohol issues are directly or indirectly related to these. A healthy balance of work and life issues, a good stress management approach and also the Australian “entitlement mentality” which has been associated with the “three day Aussie weekend” and a “night out on the town” are all impacted by the excessive use of AOD’s.  One solution proposed by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission is “the implementation of a preventative occupational health and safety strategy.”[3]

Random alcohol and drug testing is now incorporated into many Occupational Health and Safety procedures in Australia. And with a reduction in the cost of drug and alcohol testing equipment and procedures over the past ten, its use is becoming an economically viable and sensible deterrent to absenteeism due to drug and alcohol use.[4]

Good performance and lowered rates in absenteeism are a must for industry and business. “Good performance also means not harming the organisation (through carelessness and wastefulness….) Therefore, to ensure productivity and quality of work and to protect himself against harm the employer must be able to monitor aspects of the employee’s work.[5]

CMM Technology is at the forefront of a modern and cost-effective solution to absenteeism and good performance. CMM Technology is able to supply high quality testing products that form part of your much needed preventative strategy.

Telephone CMM Technology on 08 9204 2500


[1] Hoffman, J., and Larison, C. 1998. Drugs and Workplace Report. Chicago: National Opinion Research Centre of Chicago.

[2] Australian Bureau of Statistics. http://www.abs.gov.au

[3] Industrial Relations Commission of NSW.gov.au Managing People: Employment Essentials.

[4] Perrson, A.J. and Hanson, S.O 2003. Privacy at Work – Ethical Criteria. Journal of Business Ethics,42(1): 59-70.

[5] Ibid.

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What’s the cost?

Drugs and alcohol continue to pose a problem for heavy industry in Australia. The threat and cost to workplace continuity, health and safety, profit and performance is at the forefront of consideration in the development of Fitness for Duty, Duty of Care, OHS and AOD policies and approaches.  And a sound approach is one that understands the implicit dangers posed by AOD’s and develops procedures and preventative measures that can translate into a threat reduction and minimization.

An employer’s duty of care to workers and workplace safety is a pivotal component in any policy package. In NSW alone, the fiscal cost of a duty of care breach can result in significant profit loss and erode carefully developed workplace wellbeing and morale that has been built conscientiously, over time. Currently in that state, financial and other penalties for breaches and a failure to meet duty of care are:

  • in the case of a corporation (being a previous offender) – $825,000 or
  • in the case of a corporation (not being a previous offender) – $550,000 or
  • in the case of an individual (being a previous offender) – $82,500 or imprisonment for 2 years, or both or,
  • in the case of an individual (not being a previous offender) – $55,000 [1]

In the oft-cited case of Stokes v Guest, Keen and Nettlefold (Bolts and Nuts) Ltd (1968) the overall test for duty of care of the employer was stipulated as “positive thought for the safety of his workers in light of what he knows or ought to know…and where there is developing knowledge, he must reasonably keep abreast of it and not be too slow in applying it.” [2]

In the past decade in Australia, the issue of AOD use in the workplace has gained focus and momentum, and whilst many industries are now required to incorporate testing into their procedures and policies by way of legislative controls and restraints, there is still the ongoing requirement of employers to maintain awareness and keep abreast of current shifts and changes and developments in the area of substance abuse in the workplace.  This may include in-house training in relation to safe work practices, developed in consultation with employees and any OHS representatives on-site, dealing with unique characteristics of the work, and policies and procedures to monitor performance and to review control measures.[3] In view of this, it behoves industry to remain up to date and well informed in relation to current alcohol and drug practices within their industry, their site and the demographic comprising their workforce.

CMM Technology supports an approach that incorporates up to date information on latest shifts in drug practices within workplace subcultures and groupings. With thorough knowledge and awareness of the duty of care requirements of employers in many types of heavy industry in Australia, it supports the use of high quality drug and alcohol testing products and procedures that accord with Australian standards and legislative requirements in in industries such as mining, transport, aviation and the defence forces. In short, the introduction of risk control measures such as AOD testing using high quality products helps to “eliminate or reduce the risk of a person being exposed to a hazard” in the workplace by way of AOD use.[4]

For further information on quality saliva and urine drug testing technology, phone CMM Technology on 08 92042500.


[1] http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/healthsafety/Pages/Dutyofcare.aspx

[2] Stokes v Guest, Keen and Nettlefold (Bolts and Nuts) Ltd (1968) 1 WLR 1776

[3] http://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/worksafe/PDF/Guidance_notes/general_duty_of_care.pdf

[4] Ibid. P.71

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The Long Haul

Australia is a land of sweeping plains, deserts and long, long roads. Transport roads…roads used by a trucking industry that employs 246,100 people around Australia. It’s an industry that actually “carries 75 per cent of Australia’s domestic freight and this in turn equates to more than two billion tonnes of load per year.” [1]

Improvements in the industry’s efficiency, productivity and ability to deliver freight, flow on through the whole economy and to the whole population. In short, Australia is heavily reliant on an optimally performing national road transport network. And while the dangers of drink driving have long been absorbed into the Australian lexicon and have filtered through to industry, it is only relatively recently the issue of drug driving has reached community notice. As a safety issue, drug driving extends into both the community sector as well as the transport industry sector, where, for some time, the issue of amphetamine use has come under scrutiny.

In 2010, the Australian Trucking Association developed their Strategic Plan 2011-2013 with a multi-faceted objective including the need for “increased knowledge throughout the industry of the importance of fitness for duty” [2] This approach is linked in with the Trucksafe Program, and aims to “carry out a major project to raise awareness of drug, alcohol and sleep apnoea issues amongst operators as well as provide the industry with a best-practice approach to managing driver health and fitness for duty.”[3]

A recent Queensland University of Technology study focusing on illicit drug use in the long haul transport industry, certainly points to the problem directly. One respondent interviewee noted “the major turnaround as far as (legal) drugs in the industry occurred in 1989 with the two major, fatal bus accidents we had in Grafton and Kempsey. Duromine and ephedrine were outlawed…” But in their place, the incidence of illicit amphetamine use grew.[4]

The truck drivers interviewed in the study generally maintained amphetamine use did occur, particularly on long haul trips. One retired driver, now managing his own transport company maintained the incidence was as high as 90%. “It’s absolutely endemic. The driver that drives Sydney to Brisbane and does not take drugs would be the exception. As an owner of a company it is not practical for me to say I won’t employ any drivers that use drugs. If I did that…I’d be driving three trucks myself.”[5]

Whether stimulant use is as prevalent as is maintained by the QUT interviewee, or whether it remains a peripheral industry problem within long haul freight in Australia, there is no doubt safety is of the essence. CMM Technology supports transport industry best practise and the need for a targeted drug testing approach that ensures true safety on the roads for all Australians. Call CMM Technology on 08 92042500 for drug testing assistance and advice.


[1] BITRE, Transport Statistics Yearbook 2009.

[2] Australian Trucking Association Strategic Plan 2011-2013.  http://www.atatruck.net.au/

[3] Ibid.

[4] http://eprints.qut.edu.au/16018/1/Naomi_Richards_Thesis.pdf

[5] Ibid.  Pp. 69.

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