Develop and implement an impairment policy
Even though it’s against the law to be impaired while driving, each workplace still needs an impairment policy to explain company definitions, expectations and actions that will be taken to address impairment in the workplace.
Every workplace is unique in terms of its structure, its people and the jobs that need to be done. The impairment policy that works best for your workplace and your employees must recognize those qualities. However, there are common elements that every impairment policy should include:
- Statement of purpose and objectives
- Rules and procedures
- Definitions of terms
- Who the policy applies / does not apply to
- Roles and responsibilities (including administration)
- Privacy and confidentiality
- Disclosure expectations, confidential reporting process
- Processes for training, accommodation and support
As the organization drafts its policy, also consider:
- Current occupational health and safety regulations, human rights and labour laws, industry standards
- A fitness-for-duty approach
- It’s best if the policy applies across the whole organization. However, if your company has work sites / circumstances / positions to which different measures or exceptions apply, explain them.
- Ensure measures described in the policy are aligned with the company’s capacity and will to implement them. Do what you say you will do and be fair and consistent in applying the policy.
- Periodic (annual) policy review to ensure the policy keeps pace with changes.
For more details, see:
- Guide to managing workplace impairment and developing an impairment policy – WorkSafeBC
- What elements should be in a policy about impairment? – Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
Beyond the considerations above, there’s no single recipe to determine what your impairment policy should look like. Some organizations have the resources to develop multi-page policies. Others find success implementing a single-page policy. The policy that works best for your organization is one that addresses legal matters, is supported by management and is understood by the managers, supervisors and workers who are expected to apply it.
Example policies below will give you a few ideas of what might work for your company.
- RSAW workplace impairment policy template
- BC Forest Safety Council – Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace
- Justice Institute of BC Impairment Policy and Impairment Procedure