Smart drinks may be dumb safety

Puzzle head brain mental health symbol idea conceptFatigue and impairment are two of the most difficult workplace hazards to address.  These are further complicated when they are contextualised in workplace mental health.  So it is concerning when an entrepreneur produces a product that is meant to help address mental fatigue but that may also mask occupational health and safety (OHS) actions that are required to provide truly sustainable workplace improvement.

The Australian Financial Review (AFR, $), on 12 December 2016, reported on the establishment of a “smart drinks” company called Shine+.  AFR reporter Misa Han, wrote:

“Shine+ is one of many companies who are trying to take advantage of professionals and students who take drugs in order to enhance their performance and brain functions.”

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Drugs and Alcohol at Work – Part 2

Part 2 of the Cabbage Salad and Safety podcast’s discussion on managing drugs and alcohol at work is now available.

 

Kevin Jones

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Cabbage Salad and Drugs

Episode 6 of the Cabbage Salad and Safety podcast is now available with the discussion centring on drugs and alcohol issues at work. For those looking for information on drug and alcohol testing, this episode is not for you.  We thought that the testing issue is dealt with in many workplaces through legislative and regulatory matters and you have to comply with what you have to comply. Continue reading “Cabbage Salad and Drugs”

Breakfast seminar provides OHS tidbits

In May 2016, the Safety Institute of Australia (SIA) and Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) held their annual safety breakfast.  The speakers were the usual blend of WorkSafe representative, SIA, Herbert Smith Freehills and remuneration survey results but there is always bits of useful information for the old hands and a lot of information for new entrants in the occupational health and safety profession. Continue reading “Breakfast seminar provides OHS tidbits”

Political disregard for OHS…. again

In 2014 during an election campaign (now Premier of Victoria) Daniel Andrews stated:

“Labor will introduce random breath testing for all Members of Parliament during sitting weeks” and

“Labor will also legislate to give the Chief Justice, the Chief Judge and the Chief Magistrate the power to require these random tests of the judiciary.”

At the time potential drug and alcohol testing on Victorian construction sites was topical.

This week the first pledge was dropped and the second was obfuscated.  Where was the safety justification for this pledge in the first place? What was Andrews thinking?

Continue reading “Political disregard for OHS…. again”

OHS formally enters professional sports

On November 9 2015, WorkSafe Victoria charged the Essendon Football Club with breaches of the occupational health and safety (OHS) law over its controversial supplements program. This blog has watched how the Australian Football League (AFL), in particular, has acknowledged its OHS obligations and duties.  This interest has been shared by Dr Eric Windholz who wrote about the charges today.

Windholz acknowledges that WorkSafe Victoria has established a formal presence in professional sports with its decision to prosecute.  

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Drug and alcohol testing does not improve workplace safety, so why have it?

cover of EN455_NCETA_2011-2 Testing for drug and alcohol effects in workplaces sounds sensible but what do you do when there is no evidence that it improves worker safety or reduces risk? Apparently ignore the evidence, create industrial tension and impose unnecessary costs on industry.

The Australian national government and the Victorian (State) government have both pledged to introduce drug and alcohol testing for the construction sector.  The Victorian Government also promised to introduce drug and alcohol testing for parliamentarians but everyone expects a backdown on that election pledge.

Recently two researchers in Adelaide, Ken Pidd and Anne Roche published a research paper in Accident Analysis & Prevention asking “how effective is drug testing as a workplace safety strategy?“.  The abstract states:

“…the evidence base for the effectiveness of testing in improving workplace safety is at best tenuous.”

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Front page drug testing article is marketing

An article last week touched briefly on the issue of the effect of synthetic drugs in the workplace in the context of drug and alcohol testing.  The Australian newspaper on 28 September 2015 contained a front page article (paywalled) about mining company concerns over synthetic drugs at work, however it is an article that deserves greater analysis before anyone considers this as part of an evidence base as it is creatively constructed and relies on statements from a toxicologist working for drug testing laboratory. Continue reading “Front page drug testing article is marketing”

Union launches drug and alcohol testing program

In March 2015, after years of resistance to drug and alcohol testing, Australia’s Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) changed its position substantially.  The catalyst for change has never fully been explained but this week, the CFMEU actively promoted drug and alcohol testing at a major construction site in Geelong.

On 22 September 2015 at the

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Drug and alcohol testing amendments may weaken safety

Last week the former Workplace Relations Minister, Eric Abetz, informed Australians that amendments had been introduced into the Building Code 2013 concerning drugs and alcohol testing.  However an analysis of those amendments shows that the amendments may not achieve what Abetz promised.

Siobhan Flores-Walsh, a Partner with the Australian law firm, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, has provided the following table that summarises a couple of those amendments. Continue reading “Drug and alcohol testing amendments may weaken safety”