Approaching a Work on Drugs or Alcohol – Expect the Unexpected

Approaching a Work on Drugs or Alcohol – Expect the Unexpected from CMM Technology

By: CMM Technology  27-Mar-2014
Keywords: Alcoblow, Australian Standards Approved Breathalysers, Synthetic Cannabis Drug Test,

The Government of Western Australia’s Department of Commerce has a frequently-asked-questions tab on its Alcohol and Drugs webpage. There are four questions, and one of them is, “How should an employer approach someone affected by drugs or alcohol in the workplace?” The fact this is one of the most commonly asked questions is an indication of the concerns employers and coworkers have about approaching someone who is obviously impaired due to substance use or abuse. Professionals who are experienced in dealing with people under the influence of substances offer the same advice across the board: Avoid confrontation and rely on calming skills so the person does not feel more confused or threatened. It is human nature to get defensive when confronted in anger. When the worker is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the emotional and mental balance is upset. It is likely that someone showing external signs of substance abuse is easily confused or may even be hallucinating. If the person is hallucinating, it is impossible to know for sure what the worker is seeing or hearing. As farfetched as it sounds, someone on hallucinogenic drugs might see “monsters” all around or believe snakes are getting ready to attack. Fortunately, most cases are not this severe, but there is simply no way to assess the extent of a worker’s impairment just by looking at the person. For this reason, the professionals are clear that it is best to avoid approaching someone who is mentally impaired by drugs and alcohol in a threatening or confrontational manner because the consequences can make the situation even worse. Make No Assumptions Workcover New South Wales makes two excellent points that employers should always keep in mind. First, supervisors should not make any assumptions. It might be the person only appears to be using illicit substances, when in fact it may be the worker is ill, overly stressed, or having issues with legal prescriptions. Making assumptions without knowing the facts can influence the supervisor’s attitude and prompt confrontation. The drug and alcohol test will help the employer sort through the facts. Second, the employer’s initial contact with the worker should be non-confrontational and an attempt to talk to the person in terms of workplace safety or work performance rather than discussing substance abuse.1 The Department of Commerce offers employers specific advice about what to say. In answering the frequently-asked-question concerning approaching someone on drugs or alcohol in the workplace, the employer is advised to be brief and stay calm, but remain firm. The instructions to the worker need to be delivered in an unemotional tone and repeated firmly as much as necessary. Using the person’s name repeatedly may penetrate the brain fog substance use can cause. The initial contact is not the time or place to debate, argue, or make accusations.2 Unpredictability is Predictable It is important to remember that people using drugs or alcohol can respond in an unpredictable manner. The worker can be experiencing symptoms that fall anywhere on a spectrum ranging from mild intoxication to having hallucinations. The first step is keeping the worker as calm as possible, and then getting the person out of the work area and away from coworkers. Once in a safer area where it is possible to assess the person’s mental and emotional state and to complete drug and alcohol test, the employer is in a much better position to determine the next steps to take.

Keywords: Alcoblow, Australian Standards Approved Breathalysers, Synthetic Cannabis Drug Test,

Other news and updates from CMM Technology

Electrolyte Imbalance and Withdrawal Symptoms from CMM Technology thumbnail
11-Sep-2014

Electrolyte Imbalance and Withdrawal Symptoms

CMM Technology is the leading suppliers of drug testing, drug test kits, breathalyser calibration, recalibration, screening tests, lion sd400 Perth, alcohol testing Australia, workplace drug testing, breathalyser.


Marijuana and Weakening of Internal Strengths from CMM Technology thumbnail
08-Sep-2014

Marijuana and Weakening of Internal Strengths

CMM Technology's first commitment is to service; utilising the latest technology in impairment, drug and alcohol screening devices.


Drug Testing in Australia’s Water Based Companies from CMM Technology thumbnail
08-Sep-2014

Drug Testing in Australia’s Water Based Companies

CMM Technology's first commitment is to service; utilising the latest technology in impairment, drug and alcohol screening devices.


Taking In All That Is Good from CMM Technology thumbnail
02-Sep-2014

Taking In All That Is Good

Welcome to CMM Technology™ for all your drug & alcohol testing needs. Engineered to comply with industry best practices in workplace drug and alcohol testing.


Ten Contacts for the Weary from CMM Technology thumbnail
02-Sep-2014

Ten Contacts for the Weary

CMM Technology's first commitment is to service; utilising the latest technology in impairment, drug and alcohol screening devices.


It Can Be So from CMM Technology thumbnail
26-Aug-2014

It Can Be So

Leading and enhancing better workplace safety and employee wellbeing practices throughout Australasia. CMM Technology supply drug and alcohol testing and associated consumable products.


The Masks We Wear from CMM Technology thumbnail
26-Aug-2014

The Masks We Wear

CMM Technology is the leading suppliers of drug testing, drug test kits, breathalyser calibration, recalibration, screening tests, lion sd400 Perth, alcohol testing Australia, workplace drug testing.


Wildness and Its Emotionless Spirit from CMM Technology thumbnail
13-Aug-2014

Wildness and Its Emotionless Spirit

Spend some resources on the effective drug test equipment distributed by CMM Technology. We have a reputation to uphold and we are proud to honor it.


Repression and Drinking from CMM Technology thumbnail
13-Aug-2014

Repression and Drinking

CMM Technology can help you out with this. Our products include high quality alcohol breathalyser devices and drug test kits like our Medix integrated pro-split cup 6+6 kit. We even have breathalyser recalibration which is NATA accredited.


Sharing Slices of Your Life from CMM Technology thumbnail
01-Aug-2014

Sharing Slices of Your Life

CMM Technology's first commitment is to service; utilising the latest technology in impairment, drug and alcohol screening devices.


Sitting Down All Day from CMM Technology thumbnail
01-Aug-2014

Sitting Down All Day

CMM Technology is the leading suppliers of drug testing, drug test kits, breathalyser calibration, recalibration, screening tests, lion sd400 Perth.


Commitment in Work without the Pain from CMM Technology thumbnail
29-Jul-2014

Commitment in Work without the Pain

CMM Technology's first commitment is to service; utilising the latest technology in impairment, drug and alcohol screening devices.


Literacy and Your Knowledge Base from CMM Technology thumbnail
29-Jul-2014

Literacy and Your Knowledge Base

CMM Technology is the leading suppliers of drug testing, drug test kits, breathalyser calibration, recalibration, screening tests, lion sd400 Perth, alcohol testing Australia.


Like a Chicken with Its Head Cut Off from CMM Technology thumbnail
24-Jul-2014

Like a Chicken with Its Head Cut Off

CMM Technology's first commitment is to service; utilising the latest technology in impairment, drug and alcohol screening devices.


Weak Separations from CMM Technology thumbnail
24-Jul-2014

Weak Separations

CMM Technology is the leading suppliers of drug testing, drug test kits, breathalyser calibration, recalibration, screening tests, lion sd400 Perth.


Contact details

Unit 12, 3 King Edward St.
Osborne Park, WA, 6017,

Main: 1300 797030
Fax: (08) 9204-2522