Environmental/occupational exposure to Ketamine happens and the consequences can be catastrophic if you work for Ambulance Victoria. The smallest detected amount in your system can severely damage your career and your mental health.
AV have made no effort to this point to understand how occupational exposure occurs, however they have been very quick to deem everyone with a non-negative test result guilty of using Ketamine. This is a risk to your health and safety and AV have a responsibility to mitigate that risk.
Ambulance Victoria's zero-tolerance drug policy has resulted in Paramedics being stood down for extended months at a time, pending a half-baked investigation. The levels detected are generally below internationally acceptable levels and are indicative of occupational exposure, not ingestion.
Given that the source of the miniscule test results has not been identified by AV we are encouraging staff to take action to protect themselves. In any situation where you are in contact with an open ampoule or vial of Ketamine you should complete the following steps:
- Document the exposure via an incident report (estimated completion time less than 5 minutes)
- If a colleague is present, record them as a witness
- Contact the Union to discuss any other steps you may need to take
We also encourage you to download our ketamine poster with a QR code to a shortened online incident report form, and put it up in your branch so you have quick and easy access.