WorkSafeBC launching awareness campaign around cannabis legalization

Oct 16 2018, 5:33 pm

With one day to go until cannabis is legalized in Canada, WorkSafeBC is launching an awareness campaign meant to educate employers and workers about impairment in the workplace.

“Impairment in the workplace isn’t a new issue in BC, but it’s become top of mind as cannabis becomes legal for recreational use,” said WorkSafeBC’s Tom Brocklehurst. “We’re reaching out to employers and workers to remind them that they share responsibility for managing impairment in the workplace.”

WorkSafeBC is also advising employers to develop policies and procedures that address impairment in the workplace.

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 workday.
  • 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.

“The legalization of recreational cannabis provides a good opportunity for employers and
workers to be reminded about workplace-safety policies and practices,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour and minister responsible for WorkSafeBC.

WorkSafeBC has also created a guide for managing workplace impairment and developing a policy.

“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.”

WorkSafeBC’s awareness campaign includes online educational materials and radio ads in
major markets across the province, which will begin on October 22.

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