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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32 Canadian Occupational Safety job so they will not injure them- selves or anyone else, says Welton. This is where senior management support is needed. However, Welton cautions that sending the worker home is not always the best choice. "Sending them for some support is a more appro- priate route," he says. "Sending them home to come back the next day and maybe be better for a week and then having the same situation doesn't help them." If this situation keeps hap- pening, then seeking help for the substance abuse can be made a job requirement. If the issue is still unresolved, there can be progressive disciplinary action. "But that's always the last step. You're hoping you can help them early in the process so that it doesn't get to that," Welton says. Yet another cause of substance use some intel to the employees on what it is, there are the signs to recognize it and please let us know if there is something wrong," Lagacév says. SUPPORT Eacom is very clear on its commitment to helping those workers who may be struggling with substance use. Not only does it have an employee assis- tance program (EAP), but it can offer even more resources to workers, if needed, Lagacév says. Dey agrees that showing support and compassion to workers is a key element. "Everybody is different. If there's a death in the family, people may use substances to cope and so there has to be that empathy, there has to be trying to understand and putting yourself in that person's shoes," he says. "But at the same time… having them understand if you are impaired, your cognitive functions are being compromised and if they are compromised, you might compromise health and safety." If a worker is impaired, the supervi- sor needs to remove them from the in sawmills identified by the report is social acceptance. The remote loca- tions of many sawmills lends itself to substance use because the options for after-hours activities are limited, explains Desroches. It is even more widely accepted socially with the legal- ization of recreation cannabis. But Dey stresses that legalization is not accep- tance — it's two different things. "Basically, what you're doing in your personal life is OK, but once you walk into the workplace, when you're handling these huge machines where your actions might hurt you or your co-worker… [It might be] accepted outside socially, but it does not auto- matically mean it is accepted in the workplace and definitely not in safety sensitive areas." SAFETY SENSITIVE POSITIONS The root cause analysis report recom- mends having an inventory of safety sensitive job tasks. Workers doing these jobs need to be alert at all times because any false movement can be cat- astrophic, Dey says. Supervisors should be double checking those high-risk jobs so they can catch anything that might impede safety. This practice is especially important in the sawmill industry. "Some of the tasks that they have are very, very dangerous. If the mind is not on task, that could result in a very significant injury or fatality," says Desroches, who stresses that safety is very high at sawmills. "They've got some huge equipment in there; lots of sharp knives and blades. It's crazy to see what the process is in terms of turning that log into two-by-fours or two-by-sixes. It's nuts. They have to be clear. They can't be impaired. It just wouldn't be a good outcome." Sawmills are not the only work- places that need to take a hard look at substance use. In fact, Lagacév says the industry is not more or less impacted than others. Workplace Safety North has done a similar risk assessment in the logging industry and substance use came out as the number 2 safety concern. At press time, WSN was just starting to analyze the pulp and paper industry, too. "If we want to prevent incidents, we need to really understand the systemic weaknesses because you may have dif- ferent kinds of hazards. You may have so many hazards leading to injury and illness, but if all of them have a systemic commonality, for example, substance use… then we need to deal with it," Dey says. The workshop in 2017 provided a valuable perspective from the indus- try and really brought the issue of substance use to the forefront, which had perhaps been underestimated due to a lack of tracking. Whether it be employer injury reports, WSIB statis- tics, Ministry of Labour data or safety associations' documents, substance use is not measured. Now that there is evidence that substance use is a big concern at sawmills, it's time that it gets formally measured and tracked, says Dey. As the old adage goes, you cannot manage what is not measured, he says. "It's watercooler conversation. It's such a huge thing, so why aren't we measuring it?" he asks. "A year from now, I don't want to hear people saying, 'We don't have anything that measures substance use, we don't have any indicators.' No, that needs to stop." COS Substance use: Under the influence of drugs and alcohol in the workplace Training issues: Employees taking shortcuts Not properly locking out or guarding equipment Age: Inexperience of new, young workers who don't see the dangers Psychosocial: Lack of focus, distraction of worker while performing duties Slips, trips and falls Occupational disease: Loss of hearing, ringing in the ears Psychosocial: Stress, including job and family pressures Working from heights: Absence of engineered anchor points Caught in or crushed by mobile equipment 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 TOP 10 HEALTH AND SAFETY RISKS IN ONTARIO SAWMILLS Source: Workplace Safety North There has to be that empathy, there has to be trying to understand and putting yourself in that person's shoes. π BREATHE EASY ORDER BY 6 PM FOR SAME DAY SHIPPING COMPLETE CATALOG 1-800-295-5510

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