An electric staple through a thumb many not get a lot of attention (who has not stapled their finger at least once in life), but getting a tie caught in a shredder can get downright dangerous. These are the types of office injuries that do not get a lot of thought because the first one seems painful but minor, and the second one does not happen very often (as far as we know). However, each of these white collar injuries sustained in office settings usually lead to medical expenses and lost productivity as the injured, and those around them, deal with the injury or emotional trauma. The first real-life incident involving the stapler was attributed to fatigue, whilst the worker who got his tie caught had been drinking during lunch.1 That is not the end of the story because a taking a sleeping pill the night before and having two drinks at lunch are stereotypical pictures of office worker drug use. The reality is that drugs like meth amphetamine (ice) are increasingly used by all workers, including white collar employees, smashing the stereotypical image of a drug offender.
Using words like “crystalline” and “ice” to describe a form of meth seems so deceptive, and that is the point. Calling a dangerous drug by a nice-sounding name is a diversionary tactic appealing to the emotions. Anyone who has not seen the pictures of what crystalline methamphetamine does to the body will be shocked by its effects. Ice is a powerful, destructive drug that causes hallucinations, body sores, psychosis, paranoia, weight loss, and a host of other problems. An office worker can use the drug for a while, but eventually the symptoms will become painfully obvious to others and loss of job is inevitable. Until that point is reached, office workers addicted to meth are just as likely as the lunch-drinker and the sleeping-pill taker to get injured at work.
Bad Decisions All Around
Every job requires being alert. It is wrong to think that office employees are not subject to injury risks. Though jobs in the mining, construction, and aviation industries have a higher safety-risk, there are millions of dollars in unaccounted productivity losses due to on-the-job drug and alcohol use. There are arguments made against drug and alcohol testing of office workers because they have a reduced risk of injury. Those arguments make little sense to the co-workers of substance users who are subjected to injury also. How many co-worker fingers have been slammed in drawers or how much equipment has been started before it was safe to do so because someone was on drugs or had been drinking during business meetings? In fact, it is interesting to speculate on the number of bad business decisions that have been made by substance users.
Much more dangerous are drug and alcohol employees who drive to meetings with co-workers in the vehicle. Drug users and addicts no longer fit any particular stereotype, and ice can be added to the list of common drugs used by office workers. There is now widespread recognition that offices might be turning into safe havens for drug dealers because employers see these positions as low safety risk jobs and thus drug and alcohol testing is not as frequent. Law enforcement staff members recently attended training session on identifying ice users because of the rapid growth in the meth market. The Department of Justice hopes that better training will help them identify the sources of meth and other drugs. One of the places targeted as a possible drug dealing venue is the innocuous office setting.2
Nothing Quick About Drugs and Alcohol
As the rates of illicit drug use and alcohol abuse grow, it is clear that substance abuse testing will apply as much to the office as it does the mine or construction site. Any employee under the influence presents a risk of injury to themselves and to others. One drink on an empty stomach or a quick ice fix to get through the day can lead to problems that last a lifetime. Drug and alcohol use, including ice, is pervasive, and those who deny this fact are not admitting the reality of the situation.
There are many types of supplies and equipment for drug and alcohol testing that are suitable for use in office settings. CMM Technology (cmm.com.au) professionals can help office managers select the right saliva testing and breathalyser equipment to support a zero tolerance workplace.
- Melissa Davey. (2012, January 9). Drug tests find favour in white-collar sector. Retrieved from The Sydney Morning Herald: http://bit.ly/1cTluFt
- Merran Reed. (2013, November 5). New plan to tackle ice use. Retrieved from Bendigo Advertiser: http://bit.ly/1kXM3KK