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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31 2019 OCTOBER/NOVEMBER Graham Nelson, CRSP, Occupational Health and Safety Specialist at the University of Ottawa has been a CRSP since 2010 and an active volunteer with the BCRSP since 2011. A graduate of Algonquin College and Ryerson University, Graham started working at the University of Ottawa in 2006, where he has developed several institutional health and safety programs. A strong advocate for workplace health and safety, he continues to provide institutional and operational health and safety support to members of the University of Ottawa campus community in academic, research and industrial environments. Each day presents him with a new opportunity to share healthy and safe work practices with a new group of leaders in their respective fields. With particular interest in the examination development process, Graham volunteered in 2011 and was a member and eventual vice-chair of the CRSP Examination Committee. Graham has stayed involved in the examination process as a member of the Item Bank Maintenance Committee. He is currently a Brand Ambassador welcoming new certificants and is the current Chair of the CRST Examination Committee. Graham also volunteers with the Canadian Standards Association, Workplace Safety and Prevention Services, University of Ottawa Heart Institute and he enjoys an active lifestyle. The Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals (BCRSP) Volunteer of the Year program was initiated in 2001 in conjunction with its 25th anniversary and the United Nation's "Year of the Volunteer". The Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals is a public interest, not-for-profit, federally incorporated self-regulating organization which sets the certification standards for the OHS profession. BCRSP strives to advance the body of knowledge, the competency of the profession, and the value our certificants bring to society. The BCRSP grants the CRSP® and CRST certifications to individuals who successfully complete the certification process through application assessment, interview, and examination. The Board governs its certificants in order that the public interest may be served and protected. Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals 2019 Volunteer of the Year Announcement Graham Nelson, CRSP, Occupational Health and Safety Specialist at the University of Ottawa has been a CRSP since 2010 and an active volunteer with the BCRSP since 2011. A graduate of Algonquin College and Ryerson University, Graham started working, VOY_GrahamNelson_2019_V1.indd 1 2019-08-20 2:56:27 PM Eacom, which operates five saw- mills in Ontario, has a zero-tolerance policy for substance use. The policy outlines the expectations of manage- ment and the steps that will be taken if an incident occurs or if impairment is suspected. "We have some rigorous processes in place to prevent and address sub- stance use in our workplace," says Jocelyn Lagacév, health, safety and risk management manager at Eacom. The policy should be written in plain language, include relevant definitions and not leave room for interpretation. And having a written policy, rather than verbal, is crucial, stresses Desroches. "It's hard to hold them to some- thing that's not written because everybody interprets it," he says. "If it's communicated verbally, you'll take it a different way, I'll take it a different way and all of a sudden we've got interpre- tation, we've got deviation — and you can't afford that." When it comes to testing for drugs or alcohol, this can be part of the con- trols that sawmill employers use, but they have to be aware of privacy and human rights laws. WSN recommends that testing be "way down the line," says Welton, and that employers try more proactive controls first. "[It's best to] address the concern early in the process so you never have to get to the drug testing." Desroches says a lot of employers are cautious about conducting testing, especially smaller companies, for fear of what it may reveal. "It's a tough one. Do you open that door and then most people, if they do have a problem, you've acknowledged a good percentage of your workplace has it. Now what do you do with the workforce? And how do you keep the doors open and maintain production? Especially in a sawmill, it's production based; they need the wood going out the door," he says. Eacom conducts testing if it has rea- sonable doubt to suspect an employee is impaired, after a serious incident and if an employee is returning to work after receiving treatment for substance abuse. It does not conduct random testing. COMMUNICATION The policies around substance use — and when testing may occur — have to be well communicated to the work- force. Just having a policy on paper tells the workers nothing, says Dey. "You have to talk about it. It is a sen- sitive topic; you just don't know what that person is going through," he says. "There's a stigma around talking about impairment, substance use; nobody wants to talk too much about it." Toolbox talks or morning huddles are a great place to talk about your company's policies and procedures around substance use. "That's the perfect opportunity to reinforce the issue at the beginning of the shift and to bring the awareness that we don't want to see anyone hurt for any reason, but if anyone is aware of concerns, they should be brought to the attention of the supervisor so we can take care of it and protect everyone in the workplace," Welton says. Supervisors are generally reluctant to address issues related to substance use, so training on how to com- municate effectively is another recommendation of the report. "It's about talking to the individual, saying, 'You seem out of sorts today, not your normal self. Is there anything we should talk about or anything I can help you out with?' Just approaching it in a positive way… and knowing how to do that appropriately will def- initely help in things moving ahead in a positive way, rather than getting pushback," Welton says. If the supervisors are not strong communicators, it is difficult for the workforce to communicate with them, says Desroches. "Then we've got a gap in commu- nication and a breakdown in what's expected and clear communication in terms of what's acceptable," he says. "If there's no communication, then it's a very reactive scenario — once something happens, then we have a discussion." It's extremely important for supervi- sors to toe the line and make sure their workforce understands that impair- ment will not be tolerated because they are the first line of defence, says Dey. TRAINING The report also recommends specific training for supervisors on recogniz- ing and dealing with impairment. Some signs of impairment include changes in behaviour or sudden swift mood changes as well as being easily angered, absent from work or exces- sively tired. "[Supervisors] have to be able to see the signs and deal with them, but we have to give them the tools to succeed," says Desroches. "And if we don't give them the tools, they aren't going to see it. Maybe they have a dif- ferent interpretation of what impaired is. They have to be clear on what it is." He adds that it's not only the front-line workers who could have substance use problems — supervi- sors, managers, individuals on the board of directors and chief execu- tives can be abusing drugs or alcohol as well. "It's not just the front-line workers that should be targeted here, it should be the whole organization. Right from the front-line to the top of the food chain, [they] are dealing with the same problems," he says. "Typically, the ones at the top are dealing with the more harsh drugs because they can afford them." Eacom has a training program in place for its supervisors on recognizing behaviours that could lead to unsafe acts, which would include impairment by drugs or alcohol. They are trained on how to properly intervene, react and correct the situation, says Laga- cév. Refresher training is offered on an annual basis. The report notes that awareness train- ing on substance use as well as how to recognize the signs of impairment would be beneficial for all employees, not just supervisors. Eacom offers this type of training to its workforce. "This is ongoing. We are giving The policy should be written in plain language, include relevant definitions and not leave room for interpretation.

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