High on the job?

With the legalization of recreational cannabis here, WorkSafeBC has launched an awareness campaign aimed at educating employers and employees.

WorkSafe suggests employers develop policies and procedures to address impairment in the workplace.

A guide for developing and maintaining a workplace impairment policy has been produced by the agency.

“Impairment in the workplace isn’t a new issue in B.C., but it’s become top of mind as cannabis becomes legal for recreational use,” said Tom Brocklehurst, director of prevention practices and quality for WorkSafeBC.

“We’re reaching out to employers and workers to remind them that they share responsibility for managing impairment in the workplace.”

Under current occupational health and safety regulations, employers must:

  • Not allow a worker who is impaired for any reason — alcohol, drugs (including cannabis), or any other substance — to perform work activities that could endanger the worker or anyone else. 
  • Not allow a worker to remain at any workplace while the worker’s ability to work safely is impaired by alcohol, drugs, or any other substance.

 Employers also need to make workers aware of their responsibilities, including:

  • Making sure that their ability to work safely is not impaired by alcohol, drugs, or other causes. This means showing up fit to work and remaining so throughout the work day. 
  • Not working if their impairment may endanger them, or anyone else.
  • Notifying their supervisor if their 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,” said Minister of Labour Harry Bains.

“Every worker has the right to go home, safe and sound, at the end of their shift.”

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