Alcohol and substance abuse in the workplace
August 12, 2014 by Alec Caldwell
I watched as the police officer dragged him out of his company vehicle on a Saturday morning. It was just after 9:15am. His vehicle had mounted the curb at a traffic light. Luckily no one was injured or killed. He was so drunk he couldn’t stand up when he got out of the car. The officer had to uncuff him to allow him the flexibility to stand up. Once he was safely inside the police cruiser the officer removed a half empty bottle in a brown bag from under the front seat.
Had he injured himself or someone else or, worst case scenario, had there been a fatality, an investigation by the Ministry of Labour would have pulled in the company he represents in order to examine its policy and procedures with regards to workplace substance abuse. There could have been serious fines levied. What’s your policy to cover such an event?
The awareness of substance abuse such as alcohol or illicit drugs, or that some people misuse prescription drugs is not new. It’s the employers responsibility to insure workers in the workplace are not under the influence of alcohol or other stimulants, including prescribed drugs.
Your policies and procedures should cover drug abuse issues. They should include such things as: a definition of substance abuse, how to deal with impaired workers, a statement in what circumstances drug or alcohol testing can be conducted and a provision for disciplinary action. To be safe, always consult a lawyer to ensure you policies follow the law in your province.
In the workplace, employers should be looking for workers with impaired judgment, slowed reflexes, impaired motor function, sleepiness or drowsiness, distorted sense of time, impaired memory and impaired coordination.
The Center on Substance Abuse (CCSA), reports that substance abuse cost the Canadian economy more than $39.8 billion in 2002. Who knows what the situation has become since then.
By providing education and training, CARAHS reduces your risk of fines, job site closures and prosecution under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Passion – Commitment – CARAHS – Toll free 1 866-366 2930
Alec CaldwellAlec Caldwell is the Founder of CARAHS, a Health & Safety Organization. We are approved providers by the Ministry of Labour (Ontario) to teach Working at Heights Training (Pro#34609) Visit the Ministry of Labour's web site to view our listing
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