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Guidelines needed for cannabis

Tuesday, August 16th, 2005

OSH guidelines needed for when cannabis impairs judgment

The Northern Employers & Manufacturers Association says a Code of Practice prepared by OSH is needed to set clear ground rules for when employees' judgment is impaired from smoking cannabis.

"Though cannabis is illegal, its use is widespread and employers have to deal with that reality everyday," said David Lowe, EMA's Manager of Employment Relations Services.

"Though the current law is adequate to deal with employees who are obviously impaired, or caught smoking at work, the real problem is establishing the level of use that results in impaired judgment.

"That is a nigh-on an impossible task.

"Employers are advised to adopt a policy of zero tolerance rather than run the gauntlet of trying to prove impaired judgment.

"Businesses seem to be blamed for workplace accidents and face huge fines; anything to help reduce the risk of an accident is welcome.

"A new law to make an illegal substance even more illegal in some circumstances, is unlikely to work.

"Testing employees for cannabis use is already fraught with difficulties, let alone working out the levels causing impaired judgment, or the duration of intoxication.

"A code of workplace practice is needed as a guide to managers on how long safety concerns remain after cannabis use."


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