Staying Safe & Sober in the Workplace

Justin Goldblatt, general manager of Runrite Electronics, explains how alcohol abuse in the workplace can be overcome.

Alcohol is the most widely used and commonly available intoxicating substance. Alcohol testing has become commonplace in the industrial sector; primarily driven by health and safety legislation, which encourages testing to mitigate risk.

Many companies have implemented “zero tolerance” policies, meaning that testing has become compulsory, in addition to initiatives such as awareness programmes, site inductions and clinics.

Stay Safe and Sober

Best-practice alcohol testing

A transparent and repeatable procedure is imperative to the integrity of any alcohol control policy. We encourage a minimum two-test procedure. The initial test can be a simple passive screen test on a portable or fixed tester (such as the Alcolizer WM Lite) at the access point.

Should there be a failed test, the subject should be allowed a 20 to 30 minute window period before being tested with an active tester, such as our Alcolizer Series 5 device. This gives the employee the benefit of the doubt, while allowing the employer to mitigate the use of alcohol in the workplace.

The advantages of a wall-mounted alcohol tester

We have a guiding philosophy within our business: “The right to not offend”. This means that we want everyone to be able to understand and self-manage themselves, in order to avoid being prosecuted, or, in the case of labour law, face disciplinary action.

The use of wall-mounted self-testers by our mining clients has led to positive behaviour changes among their employees. It has also reduced pressure on human resource departments and security personnel to constantly “police” staff.

Apart from the self-testing concept, fixed, mounted breathalysers at turnstiles reduce human error and improve reporting on exceptions back to management _ either via the access-control software, or Runrite’s own AlcoCloud management tool.

Device calibration is vital

Calibration of equipment is vitally important and should always be done by a certified technician. The references should always be traceable to ensure the integrity of the calibration.

Equipment by Runrite Electronics makes use of unique, patented, modular calibration. This means that equipment never needs to leave the site; a simple swop of a module gets the equipment in order within 60 seconds.

You may need training …

Training requirements vary by company and industry. We tailor-make our training programmes to meet the demands of our clients; whether these are awareness programmes for employees, or familiarisation programmes for security personnel using the equipment.

We have an online training facility, meaning that we can service clients even in remote regions.


General Safety- Backing into Trouble

When we are walking around on the job, particularly when handling material, we are subject to many dangers.

Think about the following scenarios and see if you have ever been in a similar position:

  • An employee was inside a truck removing empty drums onto the trucks elevator tail gate and then lowering it. Another employee was removing the drums and sending the elevator tail gate back up. The employee inside the vehicle had his back to the tail gate as he pulled the next drum towards the tail gate (which he thought was even with the bed of the truck). As he swung the drum into place and stepped onto what was now open space, he fell off the truck onto the lowered gate. Following him down was the drum he was moving and he sustained additional injuries.

Two errors in judgment caught up with the victim. Firstly, he ASSUMED that the tail gate had been returned to a safe position. Despite the fact that he was moving a heavy, bulky item, he did not check to make sure of his safe positioning. Secondly, he was working in an unwise manner. He moved backwards with a heavy object. There is always the danger that the load may get out of control and cause an injury.

A load should always be in front so you can see where you are going, and so you will be in the clear if the load gets away from you.

  • In another incident, an employee was walking backwards directing a vehicle into an aisle-way inside a warehouse. He did not see material on the lower rack sticking out into the aisle. He backed into it and fell over the protruding object. The truck continued to back up and pinned him against the rack before it could be stopped. A cut on the leg and a badly bruised elbow was his reward for his unsafe act.

The employee was not watching where he was going. Making matters worse was an unsafe condition of an object protruding into an aisle-way.

When you are on foot, it is always dangerous to move backwards, particularly when handling materials. It is quicker and safer to move in a forward direction. Avoid moving backwards whenever you can. If you must move in a backward direction, check your path before you move and as often as possible while moving.


Backing into trouble

General Safety- A Single Second

It takes a minute to write a safety rule.

It takes an hour to hold a safety meeting.

It takes a week to plan a good safety program.

It takes a month to put that program into operation.

It takes a year to win a safety award.

It takes a lifetime to make a safety worker.

But it takes only a second to destroy it all- with one accident.

Take the time now to work safe and help your fellow employees to be safe.