Canadian Occupational Safety

October/November 2019

Canadian Occupational Safety (COS) magazine is the premier workplace health and safety publication in Canada. We cover a wide range of topics ranging from office to heavy industry, and from general safety management to specific workplace hazards.

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30 Canadian Occupational Safety them — especially skilled labour — in a short period of time, and it can be a struggle over a long period of time depending on the isolation of where your location is," he explains. "It becomes a major concern for supervi- sion from that perspective." CAUSES AND CONTROLS The report that came out of the Work- place Safety North workshop — Root Cause Analysis Report of Substance Use in Ontario Sawmills — identified the top causal factors of substance use. The number 1 cause was a lack of preventive tools, including policies, procedures and testing. Due to the fact that many workplaces have not recognized substance use as a high- potential issue for causing injuries, effective policies and procedures have not been a primary focus in some operations, says Welton. He encour- ages all sawmill companies to take a step back, regroup and review their policies and procedures in order to upgrade them and better meet the needs of their operations. It's a good idea to involve work- ers in the drafting of the policy and procedures to boost engagement. It should be a collaborative process, says Sujoy Dey, corporate risk officer at the Ontario Ministry of Labour, who facilitated the workshop. "It's giving them the comfort that 'We are in this together.' It's a team thing," he says. high-risk nature of the work being per- formed. The majority of jobs are safety sensitive and workers have to be fit for duty. If a worker is impaired, this can impact their judgment and job perfor- mance and lead to incidents. "It's basically being of sound mind and able to do the task," says Denis Desroches, president of Northern Safety Solutions in Sudbury, Ont. "If the mind isn't on task, especially in sawmills, it can be very, very cata- strophic. Typically, the accidents at sawmills are not small little cuts. It's typically amputations, breaking of bones or fatalities." Whether it's impairment from pre- scription drugs, medical marijuana, hard drugs or alcohol, any type of impairment can have serious safety consequences. Additionally, incidents caused by substance use can lead to low employee morale, poor company reputation, higher Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) costs, possible Ministry of Labour charges and replacement worker costs. Plus, the resource industry can't afford to lose any skilled talent these days, says Welton. "It's very difficult to get experienced and effective workers in the workplace, so if you lose a worker, you are going to have a very difficult time replacing BOOZE, BONGS BUZZSAWS AND By Amanda Silliker Recent root cause analysis identifies top reasons for substance use in Ontario sawmills n June 2017, 15 people sat around a boardroom table at the Workplace Safety North headquarters in North Bay, Ont. Representatives from labour, management, government, non-profit organizations and front-line employees met to dis- cuss the safety concerns they are seeing in Ontario's sawmill industry. The question posed was "What keeps you up at night?" and the conversation flowed freely, with more than 80 risks identified. At the end of the day, the group agreed on a top 10 list of saw- mill safety concerns. What took the number 1 spot? Substance use. "We have younger workers that may have it still in their system from rec- reational use. We have older workers that because of health concerns have prescription medicines and have con- cerns associated with that. And there's always other issues… such as alcohol and how that is carried over prior to work or from the weekend," says Tom Welton, director of prevention services and education programs at Workplace Safety North (WSN). Substance use in sawmills is a con- cern to safety professionals due to the

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