A new year always brings a fresh perspective and the opportunity to revisit, reset, and re-evaluate. For some employers, the New Year might mean revisiting out-of-date policies that have been collecting dust on the shelf. If you are revitalizing some old policies this year, you should make sure your drug and alcohol policy makes the list: 2017 will be a busy year for changes in drug-related technologies and legislation, and it’s essential to make sure your policy reflects the most up-to-date changes.
On December 31, a pilot was arrested in Calgary after he was discovered unconscious in the cockpit of an aircraft that was just minutes from its scheduled takeoff. Many are wondering: how did this irresponsible pilot come so close to flying?
The Toronto Transit Commission announced early this month that it will go ahead with plans to randomly test employees for drug and alcohol use. The random testing program was originally proposed back in 2011 when, after a tragic bus accident killed one person and injured 13 others in Toronto, the driver of the bus refused a post-incident drug test and was found to have marijuana in his possession at the time of the accident.
As the federal government prepares to legalize marijuana in 2017, some employers are left wondering how their workplaces will be protected from the potential consequences. Oil and gas groups have been lobbying for changes to the upcoming legislation, arguing that more measures are needed to prevent individuals under the influence of cannabis from working in safety-sensitive positions. Cameron MacGillivray, CEO of Enform, suggested in a recent interview with CBC that marijuana use should be totally banned at any workplace where marijuana impairment could threaten safety. Unlike with alcohol, there is no clear consensus on what constitutes marijuana impairment.
Addiction affects the lives of thousands of Canadians. But despite how widespread the problem appears to be, there is little consensus among experts about the underlying causes of addiction, or even what the true definition of addiction is. Some consider addiction a purely physical phenomenon that occurs when a body requires a particular substance to function normally, but addiction can be much more complex than a mere physical dependence, and it nearly always involves mental and emotional factors.
You may have heard about BC’s public health emergency over the surge in fentanyl use and abuse over the past few months. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid (“narcotic”) medication estimated to be 50-100 times more potent than morphine, has also recently gained notoriety as the drug that caused Prince’s fatal overdose earlier this year. Now, the drug is becoming a grave health concern as it grows in popularity across Canada.
Around 40,000 Canadians in the workforce use medical marijuana. And, with the legalization of recreational marijuana expected to occur in spring of 2017, this number is expected to increase. As you take steps to protect your workplace against accidents and unsafe situations, it is also important to protect yourself from legal difficulties down the road so you can successfully navigate human rights concerns and avoid wrongful dismissal suits. Here are a few tips on how to walk that narrow line between safety and human rights correctly.
Alcohol is one of the most widely used drugs in Canada.As you probably know, alcoholism can have a devastating effect on an individual’s physical and emotional wellbeing. It can also lead to high-risk situations in the workplace. Drinking in inappropriate situations, like while at work, is a tell-tale sign of alcoholism…
Since 2010, the total number of opioid prescriptions dispensed has risen from 17.5 million to 21.7 million annually. Opioid-related fatalities exceeded motor vehicle accident-related fatalities in 2010. Here’s how you can protect yourself and your workplace from accidents and fatalities due to opioid use.
In 2014, Suncor’s proposal to incorporate a random drug testing policy was quashed when an arbitration panel found that the program would constitute an unreasonable violation of worker privacy. However, a Court of the Queen’s Bench judge overturned this decision after reviewing the evidence, and plans are in the works to review Suncor’s drug testing plan in the coming months.
The rising popularity of hair drug testing has seen a rise in the amount of “how to cheat your hair drug test” videos and online suggestions. Some of the methods include shaving all of the hair off, detox shampoos, and home remedies including substances like tar shampoo, laundry detergent, detox salts, and vinegar. Some people even dye their hair after using these remedies to help mask the changes made to their hair. But is it actually possible to cheat and pass a hair drug test?
A recently posted article in the Edmonton Journal has shed some light on to what is now becoming a big problem in the workplace. Leonard Banga of Xtreme Mining and Demolition, located in Saskatoon, has said nearly all of the recent applicants to the company had failed a routine drug test. During a ten day period, 22 out of 26 individuals failed the drug test.
Oral fluid testing has recently increased in popularity for several reasons: it requires less private testing environment, less testing time, and less invasion than a urine test. Urine testing can take up to 4 hours, whereas oral fluid testing takes between 1-3 hours.
The emergence of synthetic opioids has seen a surge in prescription usage to treat chronic and acute pain in the last 10 to 15 years. In that time, addiction to opioids has become more prevalent. Not surprisingly, opioid use in the work place can cause some concerns, especially for employees operating machinery and performing other safety sensitive work.
In today’s world, the increased use of medical marijuana has brought into question whether or not a drug-free workplace is even possible. Lisa M. Bolton looked into this idea in her article “Is the expectation of a drug-free workplace a thing of the past?” She says that obtaining medical marijuana in today’s world is quite easy, as you only require a doctor’s prescription.
Fentanyl is an opioid medication that acts as a fast acting narcotic analgesic and sedative that can be abused for its heroinlike effect. Fentanyl is commonly used as part of anesthesia to prevent pain after medical procedures. Often what starts as appropriate pain management can turn into a situation bordering on addiction without the individual recognizing they are taking the medication for non-medical reasons.
Wanting to implement a new drug testing program in your business? Do you current have one but are searching for better outcomes? A recent article was published in the February 2015 edition of the Occupational Health Safety magazine, pushing for employers to use Hair Drug testing as the new and improve way of testing employees who were or are under the influence of drugs.
A single incident of workplace violence can have life-long consequences for workers and their families and can also impact how a company does business. Knowing how to assess the risks in your workplace and finding solutions to prevent violence are essential steps to creating a safe workplace.
Canadian Model for Providing a Safe Workplace – Alcohol and Drug Guidelines and Work Rule
On October 8th the Construction Owners Association of Alberta (COAA) released an updated version of the Canadian Model. The Canadian Model provides industries with recommendations for drug and alcohol testing procedures; it is the only document of its kind and was created to reduce the risk of substance abuse in the workplace.
After numerous edits to improve clarity, consistency, and readability Version 5.0 of the Canadian Model was launched. Click below to view the latest edition.
Earlier this month TSN reported that the Federal Government has been applying pressure to the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) to direct attention and resources towards drug testing Canadian athletes who are representing Canada while competing at international events.
Illicit drugs are not the only substances that can affect health and safety in workplaces. The use of medical marijuana is on the rise and more than likely making its way into your workplace which can present a challenge for both safety sensitive and non-safety sensitive work environments.
Last spring, four of the 63 applicants (6.3%) in a trial program involving seasonal labourers and drivers for the roads division in the city of Calgary tested positive for drug use.
Most often whenever drug testing is discussed, the types of drugs which first come to mind are illicit drugs such as Marijuana, Cocaine, Amphetamines, Opiates (heroin) and PCP. There is significant research that validates concerns for abuse for these drugs; however, most recently there has been a growing concern in Canada around prescription drug abuse as well.
Diminished health, whether the result of work or non-work-related activities, reduces the quality of life and income potential for employees, as well as negatively impacting those dependent upon them.
Organizations that protect their employees from the risk of injuries or illnesses create a more vibrant, engaging and highly performing workforce.