On the Mining Safety Website we have information on Alcohol and Drugs. For safety on our mines the workers must remain unimpaired not only when operating vehicles but also other machinery.
We decided to do a Q&A with Alco –Safe on the contribution that breath measurement can offer to the safety of all workers:
Do you believe that awareness efforts, distributing breathalysers and encouraging designated driving in South Africa is going far enough towards combatting drunk driving?
I don’t think there is enough consistent awareness in South Africa. People are not educated sufficiently with regards to the dangers of drinking and driving and how it affects a person’s reactions. This message must be driven home. We in South Africa have been exposed to short-term education campaigns on the dangers of drinking and driving but they are not sufficient and are not taken seriously. The only way to create a more aware and conscious driver is to start enforcing penalties properly. This can then be bolstered by the advertising campaigns.
How important do you believe technology may be in efforts to curb drunk driving?
I believe technology plays a vital role in curbing drunk driving. It is important to have equipment that is accurate and that cannot be tampered with in order for the enforcement of drunk driving penalties to be credible. Breathalysers with password encrypted memory, for example, go a long way in preventing tampering with tests. When supervisors and superiors check tests from the night before. they can log on and view the exact results. These can be compared with arrests which prevents collusion and bribery. So for example, if 15 tests were positive, the authority should have 15 arrests. The technology is currently available but almost no law enforcement agencies are making use of it .
Could you provide a description of the solution provided by Alco-Safe? How does it work?
We offer a variety of breathalysers of the highest quality that are geared for various industries and environments, including road safety. A crucial element is training.
We provide the necessary training so that police officers and SHEQ officers are better equipped to deal with alcohol consumption in the workplace as well as on our roads. In addition to training clients on how to use the equipment, we conduct training on the effects that alcohol has on the body. This is the first step.
We then supply equipment, not just breathalysers, rather breathalysers that can be accessed by a superiors and information analysed. Some of our instruments also include GPS functionality to see exactly at which location the tests are performed. This equipment is ready and available to use.
Is it possible to calibrate the device to different levels of sobriety/ impairedness?
Yes we have instruments set up for the police force that are very specific for either private drivers or public drivers where limits can be pre-programmed. We also have instruments that are geared towards on mines and construction sites.
Are these systems used with success internationally? Do you have some examples?
These systems are used worldwide. LION, the brand we have exclusive distribution rights for, invented the digital breathalyser.
For more detailed information ALCO-Safe can supply names of countries, organisations etc. that make use of Lion instruments.
Can the results be used in labour law matters and the dismissal of reckless drivers?
Yes, most definitely.
Alcohol and Drugs