Definition of addiction and dependence

Alcotech,alcosense, lion SD 400,lion SD 500, medixThe term “addiction”is bandied about with increasing frequency. But what is the exact scope of drug addiction and dependence and is your organisation really affected by it? CMM Technology offers an accurate definition as well as advice on how best to negotiate addiction to drugs in the workplace setting.

Any number of definitions for drug addiction and dependence are available on the internet. A brief search uncovers literally hundreds of explanations that seek to outline the main factors and issues that comprise this complex illness. But perhaps the most definitive of all can be sourced at the World Health Organisation website.

According the WHO, “addiction – drug or alcohol – is the repeated use of a psychoactive substance or substances, to the extent that the user (referred to as an addict) is periodically or chronically intoxicated. He/she shows a compulsion to take the preferred substance (or substances) and has great difficulty in voluntarily ceasing or modifying substance use and exhibits determination to obtain psychoactive substances by almost any means.” [1]

The site also goes on to explain that addiction is a disease or illness, a debilitating disorder that has the capacity to wreak havoc on the individual sufferer. It can also therefore have a detrimental impact on society and any community where the addicted individual interacts.

In the 1960’s the WHO advised that “dependence” replace the term “addiction” which has varying degrees of severity and expression.  The DSM-IIIR – the benchmark common language and standard criteria for mental disorders, also defines “dependence” as “a cluster of cognitive, behavioural and physiologic symptoms that indicate a person has impaired control of psychoactive substance use and continued use of the substance despite adverse consequences.”[2]

THE impact of dependence or addiction on the workplace can therefore be severe and serious. A list of consequent fallout from a drug or alcohol dependent in the workplace includes:

  • Disrupted workplace relations
  • Increased mistrust
  • Increased dishonesty
  • Lateness and tardiness
  • Poor work quality
  • Increased pressure on surrounding workers
  • Increased resentment
  • Stealing
  • Reduced work performance
  • Safety issues
  • Safety compromises
  • Increasing potential for accidents
  • Injury and harm to other workers
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Poor workplace ethics
  • Increased absence
  • Job replacement and new staff training

Addiction or dependence in the workplace can therefore erode your profits and your performance and in worst case scenarios lead to accident or even death.  According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, high levels of dependence on a drug such as alcohol means that workplaces need to implement “effective and appropriate workplace policies to address risky work-related drinking.”[3]

CMM Technology understands your workplace requirements concerning drug and alcohol dependence. It knows you need to safeguard against increased risk and accident due to dependence and it understands that a sound drug and alcohol policy that includes testing can minimise “dependence impact” in your workplace or organisation.  Be sure to contact CMM Technology for the latest and most advanced testing technologies. These can help you to increase profits and performance and maintain a workplace culture of the highest standards.

For more information contact CMM Technology on 08 9204 2500


[1] http:www.who.int/substance_abuse/terminology/who_lexicon/en/

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diagnostic_and_Statistical_Manual_of_Mental_Disorders

[3] http://www.nisu.flinders.edu.au/pubs/reports/2006/injcat82.pdf

Tags: , , ,

Closet drinking

drug testing equipment suppliers, drug and alcohol test pricesA closet drinker is an individual who drinks heavily in private and simultaneously tries to maintain the façade of normality or abstinence. Closet drinkers drink in private and go to great lengths to conceal their drinking patterns, drinking consumption and their alcohol related activities. They are the antipathy of social drinkers or “party drinkers’ preferring to consume alcohol in secret and away from others. Closet drinking may be, but is not always associated with a more developed style or pattern of problem drinking.

So…is there a closet drinker in your workplace? Would you know a closet drinker if you came across one? And do you know the signs and symptoms of closet drinking? Here is a helpful list of indicators that may be useful for you with regard to workplace alcohol monitoring and awareness:

  • Leaving early or showing up late or very late
  • Inconsistencies, mild dishonesties, white lies
  • Seems overly anxious
  • Empty bottles in workplace areas
  • Half full or partially full alcohol bottles in workplace areas
  • Hidden bottles
  • Alcohol in non-alcohol containers (such as a drink bottle, coffee cup etc.)[1]

Bodbeat also offers some good tips on the identification and monitoring of drinkers who conceal their drinking patterns and also cites the famous Diane Schuler case in the US. Schuler appeared apparently normal to family and colleagues, and crashed her car killing 8 people. While she appeared normal, her blood alcohol reading was at “unconsciousness” levels for most people and yet she was still functioning and able to drive. Her husband steadfastly maintained she was not a problem drinker because he had never seen her drinking. Prosecutors in the case against her argued she was a closet drinker and the accident was a consequence of her long-term and manipulative concealment of her alcohol addiction even to family members.[2] The Bodbeat site also maintains the top 5 warning signs for drinkers are:

  • Drink to get intoxicated or forget your problems (wanting to be numb)
  • Hide alcohol in unlikely places
  • Prefer to drink alone or in secret
  • Problems have arisen at work or home or school and the legal system because of alcohol
  • Frequently experience memory loss or blackout

You can help to ensure against closet drinking in your workplace by employing a good and reputable AOD screening programme. At CMM Technology, specialist staff have a wealth of experience concerning screening technologies and testing devices and approaches. These can be tailored to your organisation easily and promptly. For further information regarding CMM Technology’s products and advice, please call 618 9204 2500


[1] http://talkrehab.org/signs-of-closet-alcoholics/

[2] http://www.5min.com/Video/How-to-Spot-Closet-Alcoholics-174170252

Tags: , , ,

Meth Mouth: Can It Be Prevented?

drug test,drug testing,drug test kitsThe use and abuse of Methamphetamine begins a typical decay of the enamel coating of your teeth. Meth buildup acts like a highly active bacteria from food and eats all of the way through the enamel to the softer dentin at the center of the tooth. Meth debris quickly chews at the dentin until it is completely removed. This results in the typical “meth mouth” of methamphetamine drug abusers. Their teeth are blackened, decayed and sometimes are missing altogether, just depressions in the gum.

If you or someone you know has abused methamphetamine and are in danger of aggressive tooth decay, there are some steps you can take to reduce the ravages of the drug.

First, your tooth care must be far more thorough than it was during regular periods of eating. Particles will be embedded which are likely to be much smaller than normal food particles. You must use all three methods of brushing, flossing and water picking. All three methods fulfill different requirements.

First, brushing actively scrapes off stuck-on food (and meth buildup) and polishes the teeth. This polishing is necessary, because even a small amount of buildup from foreign particles decreases the amount of calcium regeneration of the tooth. This is the first step and it is the solid, primary particle remover. Remember, brushing your teeth hard is not necessary and can be detrimental. Do yourself a favor and brush gently and thoroughly, over a long period of time.

Next, flossing removes hard, stuck-on buildup in between teeth and around the roots of teeth, where your brush cannot reach. It is fine to be more aggressive with flossing than with brushing. Regular floss is fine, but a floss pick set at a right-angle from the handle may be more dexterous. Your goal is to scrape along the side of the tooth, even below the gum line. Simply getting it between two teeth and moving it around a little will not cut it. You must scrape up and down and around (in a crescent shape) the side of each tooth, so when you are between teeth, you will have two separate sides to clean.

Cleaning your teeth with a water pick (as long as you are thorough and gentle about it) can occasionally replace both brush and flossing, since it can get the major work of both methods completed. It is recommended that you use all three methods if you are battling the aggressive decay from methamphetamine particles.

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

References

Mintzer, Richard. Meth & speed=Busted! Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, 2005. Print.

Spalding, Frank. Methamphetamine: the dangers of crystal meth. New York: Rosen Pub., 2007. Print.

Tags: , , ,

Australian Policy for Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace

Drug & Alcohol Testing, Drug test Kits, Drug Test

Accidents at the Workplace and Burden of Proof

If there has been an accident, the employer can request the employees who were involved, to undergo a Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace. The employer will have to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the alcoholism or substance abuse led to the accident.

Much has been said and written about Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace. Many false assumptions too have been made. Some of these include:

  • Non-standard devices will be used for Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace
  • Devices will be tampered to make them more sensitive or in line with the policies of the employer
  • Results of Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace may lead to victimisation of the staff who might have tested positive
  • Accidents will be blamed on staff who tested positive at some point in time
  • Results of Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace will be shared with insurance companies
  • Insurance companies too will insist on Drug and Alcohol Testing before deciding on premiums
  • Insurance companies may refuse compensation to employees who might have tested positive to alcohol or drugs at some point in time1

Let us begin by examining each of the above assumptions.

Hardware used in Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace

The hardware used in Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace depends on the methodology being used. There are breathalysers for detecting alcohol concentration in the breath of the person being examined, alcohol concentration in urine detection kit, alcohol concentration in blood detection and alcohol concentration in saliva detection kit.

Irrespective of which kit or device is used, National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia (NATA) rules stipulate that any device that is used for Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace should be verified as fit-for-purpose. The verification must be undertaken by a laboratory accredited to AS 4633 or ISO/IEC 17025. Each device and methodology adopted will give identical results within the accepted margin of error. Therefore, the premise that non-standard devices will lead to inaccurate results or that they will be tampered with is false2.

Positive Test Results

Every positive test result from the Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace will need to be verified by doing a second test (usually at a clinical lab). If the same person tests positive on three or more occasions then that person will be asked to join a rehabilitation centre. Naturally, all expenses will have to be borne by the concerned staff member. Only when attempts to rehabilitate the staff member fail then only the employer can move for termination of services3.

Privacy Concerns

Policy guidelines for Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace prohibit the employer from sharing the results with anyone other than the concerned staff member, the staff member’s family and a court of law or law enforcement authorities4.

Insurance Companies

At present, it would be illegal for any insurance company to specifically request for Drug and Alcohol Testing. However, depending on the type of policy being sold and the age of the client, the insurance company is fully within its rights to request for a medical examination.

Drug and alcohol testing affects all types of business and organisations. Consider drug and alcohol testing at your workplace. Contact CMM Technology for more information 618 9204 2500

References:

1. Privacy and other issues re: Drug and Alcohol Testing: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:hYeXwD4K4-0J:www.ilo.org/wow/PlanetWork/lang–en/WCMS_082253/index.htm+how+is+alcohol+testing+at+the+workplace+done&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=in

2. NATA: http://www.nata.asn.au/component/content/article/113

3. South Australian Policy: http://www.safework.sa.gov.au/contentPages/docs/resDrugAlcoholGuidelines.pdf

4. U.S. (Minnesota) Policy on Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace: http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:5c8m_GadRTwJ:www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hrd/pubs/dgaltest.pdf+how+is+alcohol+testing+at+the+workplace+done&hl=en&gl=in&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESgBUi7tZupbTqIts2s4nwKhZUdGjAAjXQUIPEwnlaJpTRgB5auFctPsJm_DR0_SL-kaMgc1EFzHFwMVSCkCSdNtPXGLwUDA5320zx-hHDBM9qTqGrYkwo4rov7QS3HE1dXs7LNv&sig=AHIEtbRe2YiEIrevQfFSaOJYh_QyZ2A_sA

Tags: , , ,

Any substance use can be dangerous

Employee Drug Testing, Saliva Drug Test, BreathalyserSubstance abuse is a dangerous pursuit. You do not have to be addicted per se, to risk injury and life, and you do not have to have an ongoing problem to cause havoc to yourself or those around you. Many cases exist where single use or a recreational use of a substance has caused harm, injury and even death. The issue of risk arising from certain drugs has been widely considered and debated, including substances such as ecstasy, amphetamines and cocaine.[1]

Many pro-substance abuse and privacy issues advocates believe the use of drugs and alcohol recreationally only concerns the individual using the substances. But how true is this, given we live in a community and society, where the behaviour of one individual invariably impacts the behaviour and lives and experiences of others?

Public or Private?

So, is substance – even recreational use – really a private matter?  For some this is of primary importance, and many unions in Australia will tout the privacy rights of its members as the most important factor when it comes to drug and alcohol testing in the workplace.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), one of the most powerful unions in Australia, says that “compulsory testing for alcohol and other drug use is not an appropriate feature of a prevention program. This is for a number of reasons, including the infringement of an individual’s rights, including the tight to privacy and the right to refuse invasive procedures on whatever grounds.”[2]

In the US, most drug users are actually employed, “and when they arrive for work they don’t leave their problems at the door. 12.9 million of the US’s  17 million illicit drug users are employed full or part time.”[3] In America, the US Department of Labor says that a “comprehensive drug-free workplace includes 5 components:

  • A policy
  • Supervisor training
  • Employee education
  • Employee assistance
  • Drug testing.”[4]

It recognises that there is a threat to others caused by drug and alcohol use. Dangers to self and others in the workplace can be and are, generated by AOD consumption by employees.Ultimately, the rights of all need to come before the needs of one or a few individuals whose alcohol and/or other drug patterns can compromise safety, security and even lead to injury and death on the job.

CMM Technology believes in a holistic AOD approach that incorporates testing and monitoring of employees for use of substances and alcohol. This may well be a highly effective preventative approach that warns the workplace employees that drug and alcohol usage is a threat to the workplace and to workplace safety, and will not be tolerated or ignored. Tough issues require tough, sturdy, and well strategised measures, and drug testing using advanced and high quality screening devices can help your industry grow.

You may need the advice and services of a quality supplier such as CMM Technology. For more information please phone them on 618 9204 2500.


[1] http://issues06.emcdda.europa.eu/en/page037-en.html

[2] http://www.cfmeuffpd.org.au/members/infopages/2434.html

[3] http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/substanceabuse/index.html

[4] Ibid.

Tags: , , ,

Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace

Chain Of Custody, Pre Screening, Screening TestsA few days back a few of my friends were discussing alcohol and drugs at the workplace. They seemed to imagine that alcohol or drug abuse happened only outside and not in the workplace. Their argument was that the workplace consisted of individuals carefully selected after at least one interview and that the office was a ‘clean’ place. That Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace was an unnecessary waste of time and money1.

Social Background

The logic amazed me. About 80% of us consume alcohol. We are not addicts but we do socially consume alcohol. Our alcohol consumption pattern may be brought out during an interview but I doubt it would disqualify us on that ground alone unless we admitted to being an alcohol and substance abuser or worse and I am sure better sense prevails in most of us. In other words, alcohol and substance abusers do not confess during an interview. This is one of the strongest reasons for having a Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace2.

Workplace is a Representation of our Society

A workplace is obviously a representation of the society we live in. People who work in offices, etc. are not aliens from another planet – they are drawn from the society we live in. If the society we live in has a sizeable percentage that likes alcohol or drugs or both, then logically, the workplace too will have a percentage of these people, hence Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace3.

The Silent Lot

Alcohol and substance abusers take care to ensure that their breath does not smell and give them away so unless they are so inhibited that they cannot function, chances are, there is one sitting a few feet from you in the office you work. I hope this convinces sceptics for the need for Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace4.

Damage Potential

An alcohol and substance abuser carries the risk of serious problems especially if he is working in a high-risk area such as factory floors where accidents will not only result in injuries or worse, they are seriously expensive and could lead to tremendous loss of productivity.

Statistics released by the Australian Government Indicate Requirement for Mandatory Drug and Alcohol testing at the Workplace:

  • 6% of accidents at the workplace in South Australia, happened because one or more of the involved staff were under the influence of alcohol
  • 3% of accidents at the workplace in South Australia, happened because one or more of the involved staff were under the influence of drugs
  • Over one-tenth of work related injuries at the workplace were caused by alcohol consumption
  • Australia annually loses $2.9 Billion due to loss of productivity and absenteeism caused by alcohol and drug consumption
  • It is estimated that as many as 6% of Australians enter the workplace while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or both.

With the government released statistics itself indicating that alcohol and substance abuse is widespread, I feel the time has come for mandatory Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace5.

If you need to introduce drug and alcohol testing to the workplace, please contact CMM Technology for quality testing devices. Telephone 618 9204 2500

Footnotes and references:

1. Sign and Symptoms of Alcohol and substance abusers: http://helpguide.org/mental/alcohol_abuse_alcoholism_signs_effects_treatment.htm

2. Alcohol consumption in society: http://peele.net/lib/sociocul.html

3. Alcohol and substance abusers in society: http://www.emedicinehealth.com/substance_abuse/article_em.htm

4. Alcoholics at the workplace: http://www.addictionconsulting.com/handbook.htm

5. Statistics released by the Australian government: http://www.dassa.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=153

Tags: , , ,

You and Air Safety

cost of drug and alcohol testing, lion sd400 perthIn today’s fast paced, global world, air travel – both national and international – is part and parcel of daily life for very many Australians. What was once considered a luxury is now an element of family life and work life as we commute across the skies from city to city and country to country as part of employment requirements or family cohesion or vacationing.

On 22 September 2008, the Australian Government finally introduced random alcohol and drug testing of Australia’s 120,000 aviation workers. The new regulations, announced by the then Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Anthony Albanese, also gave aviation organisations 6 months to develop detailed drug and alcohol policies that also incorporated pre-employment testing, reasonable suspicion testing, and post-accident testing. Rehabilitation, education and training were also required as part of these policies.[1]

The employees required to undergo testing were all safety sensitive personnel, and included:

  • Flight crew
  • Cabin crew (flight attendants)
  • Flight instructors
  • Aircraft dispatchers
  • Aircraft maintenance and repair personnel
  • Security personnel in aviation sector
  • Security screeners
  • Air traffic controllers
  • Baggage handlers
  • Ground refuellers
  • All other personnel with airside access.[2]

According to Dr. David Newman, a Consultant in Aviation Medicine, “drug and alcohol use in pilots can have a detrimental impact on aviation safety. Important cognitive and psychomotor functions necessary for the safe operation of an aircraft can be significantly impaired by drugs and alcohol.” [3] One can argue this view needs to be extended out to include all safety sensitive personnel operating in and around aircrafts, including those now covered by the legislated testing requirements of 2008.  Dr. Newman also remarks “while it may be so that the actual prevalence of drug and alcohol accidents in Australia is fairly low, when and where alcohol and drugs have been involved, there is a VERY high risk of accident, especially a fatal one.” [4]

In his conclusion to his aviation study, he clearly maintains that “the planned introduction of a mandatory drug and alcohol testing program into the Australian civil aviation industry will provide a more prescriptive approach to the issue of drug and alcohol use in pilots.”[5]

Five years on from Dr. Newman’s report and drug and alcohol testing, damp management and also rehabilitation and training programs are part and parcel of aviation life in Australia. The prescriptive approach has been adopted out of necessity and oral and/or saliva testing for drugs and breathalyser testing for alcohol are part of the DAMP approaches that airlines now are required to pursue.  This in turn increases safety, shores up the need for prevention of alcohol and drug use by pilots and other safety sensitive personnel, which in turn translates to increased safety for all who rely on aviation travel and use as part of their work or family or vacationing requirements.

CMM Technology supports the prescriptive approach to drug and alcohol management in the workplace. It supplies quality testing technologies to many industries including mining, transport and other heavy industries. If you or your industry requires superior testing technologies, please call CMM Technology on +618 9204 2500


[1] http://www.minister.infrastructure.gov.au/aa/releases/2008/September/AA136_2008.htm

[2] CASA  http://www.casa.gov.au/scripts/nc.dll?WCMS:STANDARD::pc=PC_100002

[3] http://www.atsb.gov.au/media/32870/b20060169_001.pdf

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

Tags: , , ,

When Does an OHS Strategy Become an OHS Management System?

Drug test Kits, Drug Test, Drug Testing, Urine Drug TestOccupational Health and Safety – of which drug and alcohol testing may only be one component part – is often viewed as a tag or an appendage to a workplace rather than part of a systemic approach to profit drives and business. But the development of OHS as a part of a management system is both possible and profitable, and is the way forward for industry. Recent innovations and research into OHS over the past decade in Australia indicate that an OHSMS (Occupational Health and Safety Management System) is more profitable and productive than the older models of OHS and can be implemented effectively with resounding results.[1]

Occupational Health and Safety academic and expert, Clare Gallagher describes an OHSMS as “a combination of planning and review, the management organisational arrangements, the consultative arrangements, and the specific program elements that work together in an integrated way to improve health and safety performance.”[2] The key to this model is the idea of systemic linkages and adequate sequencing between components as well as corrective actions and feedback loops which mean the OHS approach is constantly being monitored, reviewed and fine-tuned to match business developments and organizational changes. She identifies a number of key elements that comprise a successful OHSMS:

Organisation, Responsibility, Accountability

Senior management involvement

Line manager/supervisor duties

Management accountability and performance measurement

Company OHS policy

Consultative Arrangements

Health and safety representatives – a system resource

Issue resolution – HSR/employer-employee reps

Joint OHS committees

Broad employee participation

Specific Program Elements

Health and safety rules and procedures

Training program

Workplace inspections

Incident reporting and investigation

Statement of principles for hazard prevention and control

Data collection and analysis

OHS promotion

Purchasing and design

Emergency procedures

Medical and first aid

Monitoring and evaluation

Dealing with specific hazards and work organisation issues.[3]

Drug and Alcohol testing can be woven into such a systems approach, particularly when this component of the OHSMS is also well integrated into the broader management systems and practices which connect OHS to business planning and quality and best practice management initiatives. Management commitment to the issue coupled with thorough employee consultation in its formulation, development and evolution can be regarded as key components to a testing program, whether conducted within an organisation by organisation staff, or outsourced to a third party concern such as Western Australia’s Mediscreen service operating nationally.

Most importantly, if an OHSMS is to function well and if its drug and alcohol testing component is also to function well, the program must be customized to a specific organisation’s needs. There is no template model that can be replicated. Rather, the approach needs to adapt to the organisation and needs to be developed with support and involvement of all organisation stakeholders. The specific issues regarding technologies used for testing, testing methods and procedures, types of testing etc. will depend on the specific profile of an organisation and its component and interlinked parts.

CMM Technology has adaptable and flexible testing technologies that can fit in with an OHSMS with ease. A number of options such as saliva and urinalysis methods, hand-held breathalysers through to wall-mounted breathalyser models for large industrial through-puts are available. If you are currently reviewing and updating your OHSMS and your drug and alcohol testing procedures, please speak with one of our experts for premium advice. Telephone CMM Technology on 618 9204 2500.


[1] Gallagher C., Underhill E., Rimmer M. Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems:A Review of their Effectiveness in Securing Healthy and Safe Workplaces A report prepared for the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission.  2001

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

Tags: , , ,

Test the Water

lion SD 400,lion SD 500, medixMany of us quite rightly consider the issue of alcohol and drug testing in relation to cars, driving and our roads, but how often do we really consider the need for safety on the high seas?  In many areas of Australia, maritime safety and the use of maritime transport for seamen, navy or for the general public is a fact of life. And maintaining a drug and alcohol free workforce and workplace in this area needs to be of priority.

In Sydney alone in 2009-2010 172,627 ferry services were scheduled by the Department of Transport. These services carried more than 14 million passengers comprising a mix of daily commuters (to and from work) and leisure travelers. The ferry services travelled across 40 destinations on the harbor, 20 hours a day, 7 days per week.[1] These ferries cross-cross the harbour with Circular Quay operating as the main hub of services, extending out and radiating to Manly, and far up the Parramatta River.  In other states and capital cities, shipping and maritime transport are used as necessary components of industry and urban infrastructure. In short, we rely on safe seas.

According to the Australian Maritime Safety Association, over half of maritime personnel in their 2011Australian Seafarers Study – A Survey of Health, Stress and Fatigue of Australian Seafarers, reported drinking alcohol at sea. The incidence of drinking was higher amongst engineers and crew compared with masters/mates and pilots.  Alarmingly approximately 32% of all maritime personnel exceeded the safe limits of alcohol consumption recommended by the National Heart Foundation in 1989.[2] While pilots and captains did not often fall into the latter, group, one can however draw conclusions about the potential for compromise to ship safety, OHS and an increase in risk, given the prevalence of drinking at sea amongst the engineer and crew groups.

The report also indicated there was some drug use amongst seafaring work populations and that over the past years, with crew populations scoring highest compared to other groups such as ships pilots, masters, mates and engineers.[3]

Fortunately AMSA has issued reminder statements to all seafarers for their responsibilities in relation to the consumption of alcohol and drugs and the potential performance impacts. “Seafarers while on board a ship should remain at all times capable of performing any duty which may be properly required of them….Seafarers found to be under the influence of alcohol and other drugs (whether medicinal or otherwise) that impairs them to such an extent that their capacity to carry out their duties as master or seaman may be guilty of an offence under the Navigation Act 1912.)[4]

Current blood alcohol limits in the Navigation Act are:

  • Master or seaman on duty – .04
  • Master or seaman on board but not on duty -.08

The monitor of these levels is a legislated requirement in Australia. And the use of advanced screening technologies and high quality products is paramount if sea safety is to be assured and frequently assessed. CMM Technology offers an excellent selection of testing products from urinalysis options through to saliva testing, from portable and hand-held breathalysers through to wall-mounted. Call CMM Technology on 618 9204 2500


[1] Sydney Ferries Annual Report 2009-2010 Pp12  http://www.sydneyferries.info/

[2] Parker, Hubinger, Green et al. A Survey of Health, Stress and Fatigue of Australian Seafarers. http://www.amsa.gov.au/shipping_safety/codes_manuals_and_reports/ohs_incident_reports/australian_seafarers_survey.asp

[3] Ibid. http://www.amsa.gov.au/shipping_safety/codes_manuals_and_reports/ohs_incident_reports/australian_seafarers_survey.asp

[4] Navigation Act 1912.

Tags: , , ,

Survey Summary

breathalyser, drug test, drug testing*All information and statistics sourced in this article were compiled by the 2004 National Drug Strategy Household Survey. CMM Technology supports the use of accurate and relevant statistics and findings in the area of alcohol and other drugs.

The 2004 National Drug Strategy Household Survey was developed by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and offers Australian business and industry a comprehensive insight and understanding of the patterns and affects of drug and alcohol use nationally. The survey is one of the largest of its kind ever conducted in Australia, and has offered the corporate world and the drug and alcohol fields a wealth of statistical information that can aid in the development of drug and alcohol testing procedures, OHS policy and procedures in relation to alcohol and other drugs and also Fitness for Duty issues. This article will highlight some of the key findings of this survey. CMM Technology hopes this information will be helpful to you and to your business.[1]

Alcohol

  • 9 out of 10 Australians aged 14 and over have tried alcohol at some point in life.
  • 1 in 7 people admitted to driving a vehicle under the influence
  • 1 in 17 verbally abused someone while under the influence
  • 77% of people “accept” the regular use of alcohol by adults
  • Alcohol is the most socially acceptable drug
  • High risk and risky drinker are more likely to experience high or very high levels of psychological distress

Illicit Drugs

  • 2 in 5 (nearly) Australian used an illicit drug at some point in their lives.
  • 1 in 7 used illicit drugs in the past 12 months
  • The most accessible illicit drugs are painkillers/analgesics
  • Marijuana is the most common illegal drug
  • 3.3% of Australians drive a motor vehicle while under the influence
  • 1 in 10 people were verbally abused by someone affected by illicit drugs
  • 2 out of 5 people who used illicit drugs reported high levels of psychological distress

Alcohol and Drug related costs

Alcohol and drugs (as well as tobacco) significantly contribute to injury, illness, disease, workplace problems, violence, crime rates and family breakdown. The current estimated economic costs associated with licit and illicit drug use, around the year 2000, stood at $34.5 billion.

Australian Drug Availability

The survey also focused on the ready availability of illicit drugs and alcohol in the Australian community. The results were as follows:

  • 9 in 10 (90.3%) aged 14 and over had been offered alcohol or had alcohol available for use.
  • 1 in 5 (20.6%) of the population 14 and over were offered or had the opportunity to use marijuana/cannabis.

Acceptability of Alcohol and other Drug use

  • 77% of adults in Australia believe regular use of alcohol is acceptable
  • 23.2% of Australians aged 14 and over consider the regular use of marijuana/cannabis as acceptable.

Patterns of Use

  • 58% of people 20-39 yrs had used an illicit substance in their lifetime
  • 29.3% of teenagers have used an illicit substance
  • In 2004 there were 2.5 million illicit drug users in Australia
  • One in 3 had used marijuana at some point in their lives
  • Heroin has been used by 1.4% of the population
  • Meth/amphetamines had been used by 1% of the population
  • 21.1% of 20-29 year olds had used methamphetamines
  • 12% of 20-29 year olds had used ecstasy in the year preceding the study[2]

These statistics indicate the widespread permeation of alcohol and other substances in the Australian culture and way of life. Importantly, these statistics and the pervasiveness of these substances have real impact on workplace culture and profitability. CMM Technology supports the use of reliable data such as that of The National Drug Strategy Household Survey, which can aid in a fuller understanding of the threat alcohol and drugs pose to the Australian economy, way of life and businesses. If you require testing products or advice about screening technologies to help monitor and guard against the impact of AOD’s in your workplace call CMM Technology. CMM Technology +618 9204 2500


[1] 2004 National Drug Strategy Household Survey  Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Canberra http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=6442467715

[2] Ibid.

Tags: , , ,

Protecting Your Business Brand

saliva drug test, oraline saliva, AlcotechIn April 2011, The Australian Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith, stated in a press release:

  • “Drinking and inappropriate behaviour often go hand in hand and we continue to need to understand better how to manage unhealthy drinking cultures.”[1]

He also mentioned “a large number of public or private allegations of sexual or other forms of abuse” had been directed to his office, the Department of Defence and also the media in Australia. What remains clear is that the effect of this stream of allegations has had an adverse impact on the image we have of our defence forces, rightly or wrongly. Its “brand” and its integrity had been sorely undermined, and alcohol use is inextricably linked in with this erosion in reputation and community standing.

An organisation or an industry’s brand is an ever-evolving notion that must change with the times, community expectation and our cultural attitudes and values. Not long ago in Australia, the notion of all night drinking binges and partying, “the six o’clock swill” and afternoon drinks, were par for the course. But in the past twenty years, patterns of drinking and drug taking that were perhaps viewed as acceptable are no longer so.  Poor or inappropriate alcohol-induced behaviour can have a direct and adverse affect not only on workplace culture and morale, but on the financial and profit value of a company or an industry’s brand.

The 2010 “David Jones” incident involving the retail giant’s CEO Mark McInnes is a case in point. In his resignation statement, McInnes said that ‘there had been two instances of inappropriate behaviour at two separate functions,” and that alcohol had been involved. Andrew Douglas, and Australian workplace lawyer has said “in many areas of society and the workplace it is recognized that alcohol impairs judgment and yet many firms take a completely different approach to the sales side of the business, where drinking with clients is often encouraged.” [2] He also goes on to add that “booze can in fact be the thing that triggers bad behaviour in these environments, such as poor decision-making, bullying and harassment.”[3]

The use and misuse of alcohol and drugs in a workplace setting may no longer be advocated or accepted, and the impact of such incidents and cases as highlighted in the David Jones case are a stern warning to boards, businesses and brands around the country. The fallout and damage for both the Australian Defence Forces and DJ’s, indicates a shift in what is acceptable and allowable and indicates financial, personal and brand damage to a workplace and its employees.

The use of adequate and clear and enforced alcohol and drug policies are an important means of addressing the issue of brand damage due to alcohol induced behaviour, as is the use of onsite drug and alcohol testing as a component of those policies. In short, prevention may indeed be a wiser approach than post-incident damage control which can be legally costly and time-consuming as well as damaging to brand perception, as has been seen in the ADF and DJ’s incidents.

CMM Technology can help you develop, source and select preventative drug and alcohol testing procedures and technologies that can assist with healthy brand image and accompanying profitability and safety. For more detailed information call CMM Technology on +618 9204 2500


[1] Stephen Smith, Federal Minister for Defence. http://www.minister.defence.gov.au/Smtihpl.cfm?CurrentID=11678

[2] http://smartcompany.com.au/managing-people/20100621-five-lessons-for-bosses-from-the-david-jones-scandal.html

[3] Ibid. http://smartcompany.com.au/managing-people/20100621-five-lessons-for-bosses-from-the-david-jones-scandal.html

Tags: , , ,

Product Focus – The Redline Breathalyser

alert J5 personal breathalyser, lion alcoblowThe Redline Breathalyser is one of the most affordable, convenient and guiding disposable breath testers on the Australian market today. With a tried and true history of use by the French Gendarmerie, it stands as a cost-effective and very economical option for businesses and industries that require a competitive and affordable drug-testing solution.

This breathalyser, supplied by CMM Technology, is in fact the only disposable device that accords with the accuracy and reliability requirement of the Australian Standard: AS 3547-1997 Type 1. And it is calibrated to meet with all Australian requirements.

History

CMM Technology sources products that have reliability at the core of their reputation. The Redline Breathalyser was originally devised for police use in France, and to this day is still outlined as one of the preferred preliminary roadside alcohol screeners by French police as well as law enforcement agencies in Israel, Italy and many other countries. In Europe it is conveniently sold as an individual breathalyser measure option that can be bought from leading grocery, supermarkets, pharmacies and service stations across Europe.

Usability

Perhaps one of the most important features of the Redline Breathalyser is its usability and ease. Unlike some other testing units that require full training and thorough knowledge, the Redline allows anyone, anywhere to use it to gauge their own alcohol consumption or the alcohol consumption or lack thereof of their employees.

Step by Step instructions are

  • Snap off both ends and empty harmless white silica crystals
  • Use ONE continuous breath to fully inflate the bag
  • Insert white cap end of tester into white neck of fully inflated bag
  • Use both hands to squeeze breath from bag slowly through the tester tube
  • Evaluate results under good light, within 2 minutes of test being taken
  • Under the limit reading – no greening of crystals or minor amount of greened crystals has not reached the red line
  • Over limit reading indicated by distinct green colour change of yellow crystals all the way up to the red line or beyond

In Australia, most people remain unclear about and unaware that blood alcohol concentrations can in fact vary from individual to individual.  While the standard guideline in relation to driving is a blood alcohol reading of .05% – equating to no more than 2 standard drinks in the first hours and one per hour after that (for males) and no more than one standard drink per hour for women – this remains a guideline and definitive BAC’s cannot be generalized.

Further detail on BAC’s need to incorporate accurate information about body size and a number of other factors. The Australian Drug Foundation lists these as:

  • “Body Size – for the same amount of alcohol consumed, a smaller person will have a higher BAC that a larger person because the alcohol is concentrated in a smaller body mass
  • Body Fat – people with a lot of body fat tend to have higher BAC. Alcohol is not absorbed into fatty tissue, so the alcohol is concentrated in a smaller body mass
  • Sex – Being female will almost always mean you have a higher BAC than a man who has consumed exactly the same amount of alcohol as you.
  • Being Young – younger, less experienced drinkers may have a lower tolerance and so their BAC may rise faster than older drinkers
  • Empty stomach – a person with an empty stomach will reach a higher BAC than someone who has just eaten a meal.”[1]

To monitor your blood alcohol concentration levels, whether in the workplace setting or individually and privately, source quality test products such as the Redline Breathalyser supplied by CMM Technology. Phone CMM Technology on +618 9204 2500


[1] DrugInfoClearinghouse (ADF) http://www.acoholandwork.adf.org.au/browse.asp?ContainerID=blood_alcohol_concen

Tags: , , ,