Top 5 Hazy Safety Concerns for Canadian Workplaces
Canada recently legalized recreational marijuana under Bill C-45, more commonly referred to as legalized pot. So, are you concerned about how the legalization use will affect your workplace?
On October 17, 2018, Canada legalized recreational marijuana. Since then, more safety hazards have clouded the workplace. Employers and employees need to be ready to prevent the risk of cannabis impairment to maintain a safe work environment.
Employers’ are responsible for policies on creating substance use and impairment hazard prevention programs when the use of cannabis, no smoking, and other causes of impairment represent a hazard, per Canada.ca.
So what’s the big deal about workplace safety, then?
Experts argue that since reasoning requirements for driving and other safety-sensitive tasks are impaired driving can be interpreted into the context of the workplace. Workplaces – like yours – are concerned about the impact of legalization of recreation pot with:
- Employees operating motor vehicles
- Disciplinary procedures
- Decreased work performance
- Employees using heavy duty machinery
While adult cannabis use is not a new issue, since medical marijuana has been legal in Canada since 1999, the Duty to Accommodate could interfere with any ‘Zero-Policy’ or No-Impairment rule. See, per the Duty to Accommodate, employers and service providers have an obligation to adjust rules, policies, or practices to enable employees to take part (fully) in the workplaces.
Examples of Duty to Accommodate are:
- Providing a special screen and software for employees with visual impairment.
- Allowing an employee to take time off to attend a medical appointment.
- Managing an employee’s schedule in a way that balances their work and caregiving obligations.
- Making wheelchair access available to people with disabilities
Reasonable limits do apply in the workplace when:
- A prescription for medical marijuana does not entitle an employee to be impaired at work.
- A prescription for medical marijuana does not entitle an employee to compromise his or her safety.
- A prescription for medical marijuana does not entitle an employee to unexcused absences or late arrivals.
Employers are required to find suitable workplace accommodations for disabled employees who have a prescription for medical marijuana use.
According to a Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) survey, only 11% of respondent companies have a policy in place to address medical marijuana, and 45.9% do not believe their existing policy adequately covers any potential workplace issues that may arise with the legalization of recreational marijuana.
Per the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), marijuana significantly impairs judgment, motor coordination, and reaction time. Thus, it is never a good idea to get behind the wheel when intoxicated with marijuana.
It’s important to pay attention to impairment in the workplace and enforce no smoking procedures to protect workers.
In your business, keep employee safety and health top priority.