Long work hours, workplace isolation, and inadequate supervision and training can increase the likelihood that workers turn to drugs like methamphetamine, according to the WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS).
The DMIRS outlines several other drug abuse risk factors in its latest edition of ThinkSafe, including poor job suitability, workplace culture, and fatigue.
The regulator says there is a number of strategies employers can adopt to mitigate these risks, and says each workplace should conduct a risk assessment on factors that have the potential to cause drug-related issues, in consultation with workers.
“For the risk of worker isolation, employers can establish support networks, encourage social interaction internally and outside of the workplace, and establish communication channels with existing employee assistance programs (EAP) or appropriately qualified personnel.”
“Employers can also monitor for impairment by training supervisors in how to identify the signs and symptoms of substance use and ensuring they know how to manage any risks.”
“Monitor employees for fatigue and sleep deprivation, consider these factors when rostering and arranging shifts, and identify and address interpersonal issues.”
Employers should also support rehabilitation efforts by providing information about EAPs, external resources and educational material, the regulator says.
As far as minimising the work impact, the DMRIS recommends control measures including:
- eliminating excessive isolation demands from activities
- considering work or task rotations
- redesigning the activity to require a combination of mental and physical tasks
- ensuring rest periods are used • eliminating the need for long shifts to be worked
- designing spaces used by the public to include security controls
- providing information and training to staff who work with at-risk members of the public
- implementing a workplace policy stating action will be taken to protect workers from violence and aggression.
Get more information here.