Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine
WorkSafeBC launched an awareness campaign to educate employers and workers about workplace impairment as the legalization of recreational cannabis took effect on October 17, 2018.
“Impairment in the workplaces in a new issue in British Columbia, but it has become top of mind as cannabis becomes legal for recreational use,” says Tom Brocklehurst, Dir. of prevention practices and quality for WorkSafeBC. “We are reaching out to employers and workers to remind them that they share responsibility for managing impairment in the workplace.”
Under current OH&S regulations, employers must not allow an impaired worker to perform work activities that could endanger the worker or anyone else will remain at any workplace while the worker’s ability to work safely is impaired. Employers also need to make workers aware of their responsibilities, including ensuring that their ability to work safely is not impaired by alcohol, drugs, or other causes and they show up fit to work and remained so throughout the workday. The supervisor must be notified if workers’ ability to work safely is impaired for any reason.
“The legalization of recreational cannabis provides a good opportunity for employers and workers to be reminded about workplace-safety policies and practices,” says Minister of Labour Harry Bains.
WorkSafeBC advises employers to develop policies and procedures to address occupational impairment. “An impairment policy that takes a fit-to-work approach to impairment can help employers meet their workplace-safety obligations,” Brocklehurst adds.
The province of Ontario is growing through the same growing pains as, I guess, most of the other provinces as well as the territories. The question should be, “How do we recognize when an employee is impaired?” Alcohol impairment, in most cases, it is easy to spot but cannabis impairment is tougher. Even the police forces have to come up with equipment to deal with impaired driving so I wonder if this type of equipment may be available to the employer if needed.
The need for control has certainly been there for a long time. Picture an impaired forklift driver driving around the plant unabated. Forklifts can weigh as much as six or seven cars. This makes it even more dangerous because injury, damage and death is a real possibility when coming in contact with an out-of-control forklift.
I was pleased to find out that the province of British Columbia understands the need and has taken a lead role and providing impairment safety on the job.
Ensure your workplace is a safe place.
Remember – In Canada, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.