Trenchless Technology

Fall Canada 2018

Trenchless Technology is the premier communications vehicle for the trenchless industry. Through our multiple platforms, readers receive insights into the trenchless industry, as well as keep connected to the latest news, products and projects.

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Page 25 of 39

26 T R E N C H L E S S T EC H N O LO GY C A N A DA FA L L 2018 W H AT D O ES T H E L EG A L I ZAT I O N O F R EC R EAT I O N A L C A N N A B I S I N C A N A DA M EA N FO R YO U R WO R K P L AC E, A N D W H AT D O YO U N E E D TO D O? For employers, the key issue is impairment. Being im- paired at work — whether it's by drugs, alcohol or fatigue — can affect our ability to keep ourselves and those around us safe. Review your policies and procedures because, regard- less of the source, impairment can affect our focus, judgment and ability to do our jobs safely. Learn more about the steps you can take to reduce the impact of impairment and the role that both employers and employees play in workplace safety. Understanding Impairment Impairment in the workplace is not a new issue. There are many potential causes of impairment including the use of legal and illegal substances such as alcohol, cannabis, drugs (over the counter, prescription and/or illicit) and certain medica- tions, as well as factors such as fatigue, life stresses and certain medical conditions. As such, employers already have had to deal with the potential of impairment in the workplace. Legalization of recreational cannabis may not necessar- ily change existing policies and procedures, but workplaces should take the opportunity now to review them to ensure they address both therapeutic and recreational cannabis. While cannabis was acceptable under the law as of Oct. 17, 2018, impairment is still not acceptable in the workplace, and for good reason. Like other sources of impairment, using cannabis or any cannabis product can affect your ability to concentrate, think and make decisions. Your coordination may suffer and reaction time may slow down. This can affect your mo- tor skills, including your ability to drive. It can also increase anxiety and cause panic attacks and, in some cases, cause paranoia and hallucinations. When inhaling cannabis, the chemicals in the smoke pass from the lungs into the blood, which carries the chemicals throughout the body and to the brain. If ingested, the effects of cannabis are delayed because the chemicals must first pass through the digestive system, but the effects are the same. Employer and Employee Roles Workplace health and safety is a responsibility shared be- tween employers and employees. Employers are responsible for developing , implementing and monitoring hazard pre- vention programs, which should include policies around any potential hazards in the workplace, such as drugs, alcohol or other substances or situations. Employees have the duty to do their job safely and understand the impact that being im- paired can have on their safety and that of others. Employers, managers and supervisors need to be on the lookout for signs of impairment from the consumption of cannabis. To exercise due diligence, an employer should work with the health and safety committee to create and implement a plan that identifies possible workplace hazards, including the impacts of possible impairment and carries out the appropriate corrective action to prevent incident or injuries. Workers have the duty under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to report hazards as they seem them. The Law Cannabis laws will vary by jurisdiction. Each province and territory has the ability to set its own rules for cannabis, in- cluding the legal minimum age, where you can buy it and where you can use it. Check with your jurisdiction for the applicable legislation. Update Your Policies Labour and management, including the health and safety committee, should jointly update or develop a policy that ad- dresses the risk of workplace impairment. The policy should use general concepts such as "impairment" as this approach will be relevant to all sources of impairment, not just cannabis. A d d r e s s i n g I m p a i r m e n t i n t h e Wo r k p l a c e By The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)

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