• Chris Anderson
    48
    Given the current shortcomings or oral fluid testing to meet the cut off levels in the new standard, could an organisation use an oral-fluid test as an initial test for impairment, then follow this up with an evidential urine test in the oral test is non-negative/ shows recent use?
  • Amanda Douglas
    17
    It will become like alcohol. Workplaces can still have policies in place that workers cannot turn up to work having just used the substance nor can they take it at work. So, employers in safety sensitivie areas, for example, would not be forced to allow workers to smoke cannabis on their breaks.
  • Amanda Douglas
    17
    There is no perfect outcome from any of this testing. They are all tools in the toolbox in a situation where there is no definitive test
  • Amanda Douglas
    17
    Case law supports the fact that random testing can be undertaken in safety sensitive areas. There is a balancing act between health and safety and the invasion of personal rights which can be justified where the consequences can be significant.
  • Amanda Douglas
    17
    It could be possible. You would need to speak to a technical person as to whether this was necessary. The key would be to ensure that your policy adequately outlines the steps you are going to take and that you actually follow those steps 'to the letter'. The courts have come down heavily on employers who do not follow their own policies in relation to drug testing - likely because of the recognised invasion of privacy factors and the seriousness of testing etc.
  • Peter Bateman
    140
    FWIW, I will be voting in favour of the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which puts me in the minority of the Safeguard survey respondents!
    Experts in health and science far cleverer than me have concluded the Bill is the best way forward, and certainly the current 'war on drugs' regime has failed for decades.
    (If there was evidence that legalisation would result in a higher risk of injury incidents in the workplace, I would think again. But to my knowledge there isn't any.)
  • Janine Goldsworthy
    0
    Ah! I was wondering if I was the only one worried about where their focus has been. Given our appalling workplace fatality statistics and our road toll, I'd expect them to be giving us a reassurance that this change won't increase in the number of workers turning up for work impaired.
  • Stace
    0
    How does this translate to medicinal use by employees? I.e discrimination against prescribed medicinal users?
  • Prof Joanne Crawford
    27
    I wonder if there is a route to making cannabis use unacceptable at work. We have seen culture change in relation to alcohol and drink driving (a work in progress in both UK and NZ). How can we do this in relation to work?
  • Amanda Douglas
    17
    It might come. Noone knows which way the referendum will go so that might be factor. Normally we rely on the driving requirements so the work that the Police are doing might come through and assist, too, hopefully
  • Amanda Douglas
    17
    The introduction of medicinal cannabis has already occurred and would validly impact on the prescription side of drug testing (eg declarations as to prescriptions) and impairment with machinery etc in the same way that other medicines would. That would not be discrimination. Steps around the use of drugs would not be discrimination but any discrimination due to the person's condition would be. The key to being classed as a medicinal cannabis is that the substance has CBD (not THC) and does not create a 'high' - so if someone who is high claims they are on medicinal cannabis, it's worth an inquiry into what they are taking.
  • Peter Bateman
    140
    The culture of the workplace must be an important factor. Drug testing, particularly random testing, has always struck me as undermining of the trust necessary for a high performance workplace.
  • Amanda Douglas
    17
    I think there has been a lot of work on this already and, if cannabis is legalised, this work could be reinforced and built on. Primarily it would be around policies and ensuring that they are clear and spell out what is and isn't acceptable. There is still scope to make cannabis use unacceptable in the workplace if it impacts on safety, even if it is legal. Think about the workplaces that wont allow workers to drink alcohol during the day, even at a fancy lunch.
  • robert p
    4
    This topic gets a lot of attention while not contributing to a lot of workplace incidents (in my experience - not sure about the global data). We can not and should not rely on the law or our policies alone to protect our workplaces from workers turning up for work unfit due to fatigue, alcohol, drugs, mental distraction. If we're worried about impairment (as we should be) workplace relationships are a key part of the approach
  • Peter Bateman
    140
    Time is almost up. Last questions please!
  • Prof Joanne Crawford
    27
    Think all the last three comments are great and I do worry about random testing.
  • Amanda Douglas
    17
    Agreed. There is no point having a piece of paper in the drawer gathering dust. Organisations need to live and breathe their policies and have the right culture. The policies, however, are a very important tool to use when/if there is an issue and it is crucial that they accurately reflect what you need to be able to do. Many employers have been hamstrung due to their lack of adequate policies or requirements - or not following what they wrote!
  • Amanda Douglas
    17
    If the Bill is passed,it will be important to review procedures and policies and bring them in line with expectations
  • Peter Bateman
    140
    Amanda, many thanks for your time and expertise this morning, it's been a fascinating discussion and one that always provokes much debate.
    And thanks to everyone who submitted questions and comments!
  • Amanda Douglas
    17
    Thank you for having me, and thank you, all, for your questions. If anyone has any queries, they can get in touch:
12Next
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet

Welcome to the Safeguard forum!

If you are interested in workplace health & safety in New Zealand, then this is the discussion forum for you.