Mining among trades called to do more about ice
Experts are concerned about the growing rate of ‘ice’ addiction and its potential effect on already dangerous industries.
The Australian Industry Group said in its submission to a federal inquiry that companies must proactively curb ‘ice’ use in the workplace, due to concerns about safety risks and a loss of productivity.
It claims that recent data found monthly ‘ice’ usage was highest in the mining industry, with 38 per cent of workers reportedly using the drug.
The AIG points to a number case studies, including that of three road train supervisors, who allegedly coerced a subordinate employee to use cash from a company credit card to buy ice.
Australian Industry Group spokesperson Stephen Smith has told reporters this week that workers should be concerned.
“You know if you're working on a construction site or in a mine you want to be very sure that the person working alongside you is not affected by a drug like ice,” he said.
Mr Smith said the obvious effects of ice in the workplace were a sign that more testing is needed.
“Mining is one industry, but construction, manufacturing and transport are also there and you know these are industries where there is a prevalence of heavy machinery, heavy vehicle operation and it is extremely important that people aren't affected by drugs of alcohol in the workplace.
“And these examples are not uncommon. We have spoken to many large employers who have had a series of incidents with ice and dealing with it and it is an issue that needs to be looked from an employment perspective as well as other effects on the community.
“We're getting more and more approaches from employers stressing the concern they have about this issue and the impact in these workplaces.
“In industries like construction and mining and transport and so on there is a legitimate role for drug and alcohol testing and employers need to have the ability in consultation with their employees in working out well what is the appropriate testing regime.
“Most employees would be very concerned about this issue,” he said.
The Minerals Council of Australia told the inquiry that drug addiction is not unique to mining, but that the industry's cashed-up, predominantly male workforce was statistically at greater risk of ‘ice’ use and addiction.