Policy Model Offers Guidance on Workplace Impairment to Safety-Sensitive Industries
June 25, 2018
Energy Safety Canada and the Construction Owners Association of Alberta (COAA) have jointly released an updated alcohol and drug policy model to support employers in safety-sensitive workplaces.
The Canadian Model for Providing a Safe Workplace (Canadian Model) is a detailed cross-industry guideline to support companies with updating their workplace impairment policies. Developed in collaboration with industry stakeholders, including employers, labour associations, legal and medical experts, the specifications outlined in the model provide a solid legal framework for employers to adapt.
“The oil and gas and construction sectors are inherently safety-sensitive. A worker’s use of drugs creates unacceptable safety risks,” said Murray Elliott, President of Energy Safety Canada. “We believe employers working in safety-sensitive industries need the right controls to ensure workers and the public are protected from alcohol and drug impairment risks — the Canadian Model gives these employers a foundation to put these controls in place.”
With the potential for increased cannabis use resulting from legalization, many Canadian employers are looking to strengthen or update their alcohol and drug policies. The Canadian Model provides guidance for the construction and oil and gas industries to ensure adherence to employers’ legal obligations to maintain a safe work environment.
“Over the last decade, the use of alcohol and drugs in the oil and gas industry has been an ongoing safety concern — the Cannabis Act adds another layer of complexity to this existing issue,” said Paula Campkin, Vice President and Chief Safety Officer of Energy Safety Canada. The implications of a worker stepping onto a worksite unfit for duty in safety-sensitive environments can, and has, resulted in serious consequences that could affect not only workers, but also surrounding communities and the environment.
“Currently there is a legislative gap in Canada regarding the use of random testing to address impairment in the workplace. This is a complex discussion that requires thoughtful consideration amongst multiple stakeholders. The Canadian Model for Providing a Safe Workplace developed by COAA and Energy Safety Canada provides guidance and structure to effectively manage the risk of impairment in safety-sensitive roles within current legislation,” said Elliott.