With recreational cannabis legal as of Oct. 17, WorkSafeBC is launching an awareness campaign about workplace impairment for both employers and employees.
“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.”
WorkSafeBC is advising employers to develop policies and procedures that address impairment in the workplace. To assist, WorkSafeBC has created a guide for managing workplace impairment and developing a policy. The need for an impairment policy is even more relevant with the legalization of recreational cannabis.
“An impairment policy that takes a fit-to-work approach to impairment can help employers meet their workplace-safety obligations,” said Brocklehurst. “It’s also very important that employers clearly communicate their impairment policy to workers.”
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.
WorkSafeBC’s awareness campaign includes online educational materials and radio ads in major markets across the province starting Oct. 22, including Kamloops, Kelowna, Prince George, Vancouver/Lower Mainland and Victoria. Radio ads in Vancouver will include Cantonese, Mandarin and Punjabi languages.