Thousands of safety-sensitive workers influenced by drugs

A SafeWork report has revealed that an alarming number of South Australian workers arrived at their workplace affected by illicit drugs in 2017.

Nearly 5000 workers in safety-sensitive industries in the state turned up under the influence of methamphetamines last year, according to the report.

This made up 2.2 per cent of workers in safety-sensitive industries in SA, including mining and construction. It was higher than the national level of 1.9 per cent (or 18,500 people) on any given day.

The SA figure has climbed from 1.8 per cent in 2016.

The SafeWork statistics were released by Business SA, following a report in April stating that Adelaide was the official ‘ice capital’ of Australia.

The study was instigated due to an increase in calls to the Business SA advice helpline regarding workers under drugs influence.

Business SA senior policy advisor Estha van der Linden said, “All businesses should consider creating a workplace drugs policy, preparing them for potential accidents or emergencies, or in case they suspect one of their staff members is under the influence.

“If they are under the influence they would be putting themselves and their colleagues at risk. They may also be unpredictable, have mood swings and be at risk of psychotic episodes.”

Van der Linden said that users might feel the effect for up to 48 hours. Therefore, workers may not know that they are still under the influence.

An Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission report stated methamphetamines were being detected more in wastewater treatment plants in Adelaide than any other capital city.