fit for work Policy Update
Allied has had several incidents in the last two years involving drugs and alcohol. While these challenges may not be unique to Allied or even the rail industry, they are equally detrimental to all workplaces struggling to control substance abuse on the job site.
The fact that some people use substances such as alcohol or illicit drugs, or that some people misuse prescription drugs is not new. The awareness that the use and abuse of substances may affect the workplace just as the workplace may affect how a person uses substances is, however, increasing in acceptance. Many aspects of the workplace require alertness, and accurate and quick reflexes. An impairment to these qualities can cause incidents and interfere with the accuracy and efficiency of work
The economic impacts of substance use in Canada to businesses or industry have been traditionally difficult to measure. Many costs are hidden by general absenteeism or illnesses, “unnoticed” lack of productivity, or inability or reluctance to link substance use directly with causes of incidents.
Safety and quality while working in the rail industry is not only important to Allied, but also as important to the communities we work and live in. With nearly 41,711 route-kilometers of track, Canada has the third-largest rail network in the world. Railways played a key role in shaping our country. They continue to be important for our economy as a primary mode of freight transportation.
Therefore, Allied Track Services has updated several policies and procedures to ensure that Allied and its Team members live up to the expectations of our own E, H&S Program, and our clients. We also strive to live up to the Canadian Public by doing our part to ensure safe passage for people and goods.
Your cooperation is appreciated!
Your Senior Management Team
Zero tolerance for commercial drivers
Commercial drivers face zero tolerance sanctions for the presence of drugs, as detected by an approved drug-screening device prescribed by the Criminal Code of Canada. The regulations define a commercial vehicle driver for the purposes of applying zero tolerance sanctions as a person operating the following classes of motor vehicles from having any alcohol or drugs in their body:
- a vehicle that requires the driver to hold a Class A, B, C, D, E or F driver’s licence
- a road-building machine as defined in Regulation 398/16 (e.g. bulldozers, graders, low-speed street sweepers, etc.)
- a vehicle that requires a Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR) (e.g. trucks with a registered or actual weight greater than 4,500 kg or buses with a designed seating capacity of more than 10 passengers.)
Please note: Commercial drivers also face zero tolerance sanctions for the presence of alcohol in the blood, as detected by an approved screening device.
You can contact the Ministry of Transportation for information related to impairment for commercial drivers.
There are also other penalties related to impairment for all drivers under the Highway Traffic Act and the regulations.
Occupational health and safety at Canadian workplaces
Workers performing work when they are unable or unfit to do so safely may introduce a hazard to the workplace, to themselves or to others, and workplace parties are required to address such hazards under the OHS Legislation.
Hazards may arise from a worker’s impairment due to the use of various substances (e.g., alcohol, prescription and non-prescription medication, medical and recreational cannabis, and other substances, such as fentanyl and other opioids).
Under the OHS Legislation, all workplace parties including constructors, employers, supervisors, and workers, have a role in protecting workplace health and safety. What follows are some examples of constructor, employer, supervisor, and worker duties under the OHS Legislation that may apply to impairment in the workplace.
Please note: There are additional rights, duties, and requirements under the OHS Legislation and the regulations not mentioned in this document that workplace parties must address.
General duties of employers, constructors, and supervisors
The OHS Legislation imposes general duties on employers, constructors, and supervisors to protect workers. These duties may be applied to workplace impairment arising from substance use.
An employer is required to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker. An employer should assess the circumstances of the workplace, identify the hazards that may be present and take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to ensure that workers are protected. This duty may include ensuring workers are not impaired while performing their work, and ensuring workers are not introducing hazards to the workplace because of impairment arising from substance use.
To determine what precautions may be reasonable, an employer may consider conducting a risk assessment of the workplace to identify risks that may need to be addressed; then consider developing, maintaining, and implementing written measures to control the risks; and, where practicable, eliminating the hazards identified in the assessment where they are likely to endanger a worker.
A general duty is also imposed on constructors and supervisors. Constructors must ensure that the health and safety of workers on the project is protected, and supervisors must take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.
In certain circumstances, these general duties may apply to issues of impairment at the workplace. For example, if an employer or supervisor becomes aware that a worker who operates heavy machinery alone or in proximity to other workers appears to be impaired, the employer or supervisor must take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to ensure that the worker and all other workers are protected. In this scenario, the constructor must ensure that the health and safety of workers on the project is protected, and ensure that every employer, supervisor, and worker on the project is complying with the OHSA and any regulations that apply.
These general duties require the constructor, employer and/or supervisor to take action where a hazard that could endanger a worker is present. The action taken will depend on the type of workplace and hazards present, which may include the actions of a worker who may be impaired.
Allied Track Services can no longer afford the potential for great harm and risk to our employees or the communities that we work in. Following the legislative requirements under several applicable legislative requirements Allied will be introducing a ZERO TOLERANCE policy.
Effective immediately – January 25, 2022.
What has changed?
Any employee found to be in violation of our Fit for Work Policies will be “Terminated With Cause” as soon as impairment has been verified through a qualified process.
STEP 1 – Employee is notified that that manager or supervisor has “Reasonable Suspicion” that impairment may have been a factor of an incident or event. As per our contracts with our clients, any incident or event would constitute reasonable suspicion. Supervisors and Managers will complete Reasonable Suspicion training to qualify identification of signs and symptoms displayed from an unfit individual.
STEP 2 – A request will be made to the employee to submit a urine sample, breath sample (breathalyser) and saliva sample to be tested by means of a standard 8 panel test and to be validated by an accredited lab.
An 8-panel drug test is a standard drug screen procedure that entails the collection of a urine specimen to analyze for drug metabolites including amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines, opiates, and phencyclidine (PCP). Drug testing is a policy guideline for many employers based on epidemic drug use of illicit and/or prescription drugs among applicants and/or employees.
Allied Track Services reserves the right to employ the use of a 10 or 15 panel test when warranted and good judgment dictates.
STEP 3 – All incident involving Motor Vehicle Collisions shall be reported immediately to E, H&S Manager (or designate), and closest police service. If police do not attend the scene, then person(s) involved will be required to attend the nearest collision centre when able to do so.
STEP 4 – E, H&S Manager (or designate), will notify your direct supervisor and/or senior manager.
STEP 5 – When an incident or event has occurred where reasonable suspicion is present the employee will be suspended pending further investigation.
STEP 6 – A senior manager of Allied Track Services may, based on the circumstances, not require the employee to submit to D&A testing or be suspended pending investigation.
i.e., an incident that clearly has no fault on the actions of the worker and no reasonable suspicion exists. In such cases when two managers agree, the employee may or may not need to submit to a drug test or be suspended.
These circumstances should be considered rare and not be relied upon for any incident or event.
STEP 7 – Outcome
- Employee test positive for any amount – Termination with cause effective the date of the incident.
- Employee test negative – Reinstated with pay for days missed pending investigation.
- Employees agree to moderate themselves accordingly.
- Employees agree that they are required to be “Fit for Work” the next day.
- Employees agree that at no time will Allied Track Vehicles be operated when alcoholic beverages are consumed, and alcoholic beverages are prohibited from being transported in all vehicles.
- Employees agree that Allied Track branded apparel is not to be worn in establishments where alcohol is served, and employee intends to consume alcohol while at the establishment.
- Exception: for the purposes of entertaining a client, prospective client, industry partner or supplier an employee may wear Allied Track branded apparel if employee(s) agree to moderate themselves accordingly.
Employee must acknowledge and sign!