Thousands of Australians are turning up to work under the influence of methamphetamines and predominately ice, according to new data from South Australia’s peak business lobby Business SA.
New drug-testing statistics compiled by SafeWork Laboratories show the number of workers testing positive for methamphetamines nationally increased from 1.5 percent in 2016 to 1.9 percent in 2017, equating to more than 18,500 people on any given day.
The report shows on any given day, 5,000 people working in safety-sensitive industries – including construction, mining, agriculture, transport and utility services turn up to South Australian workplaces either under the influence of ice or suffering its hangover effects, which can range in severity from lethargy, irritability and poor concentration to unpredictable outbursts and aggression.
Business SA Senior Policy Adviser Estha van der Linden said the figures were a wake-up call for businesses which did not have drug policies in place.
“People who take methamphetamines feel the effect for up to 48 hours, meaning they may not know they are still 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,” Ms van der Linden said.
She said employers were legally obliged to ensure workplaces were safe.
“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.”