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Manage impairment risks and improve investigations with CSA Group standards

CSA update

CSA Group has just published two standards that can help you better manage impairment in your workplace and improve your incident investigations.

CSA Z1008:21, Management of impairment in the workplace, a new standard, offers a structured approach to assessing and controlling impairment, including impairment from substance abuse. CSA Z1005:21, Workplace incident investigation, is an update that provides more guidance on the role of human factors in incidents. 

“Both can help firms of all sizes meet their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, says WSPS Specialized Services Lead Michael Wilson.

What we’ve learned

“The catalyst behind CSA Z1008:21, Management of impairment in the workplace was the legalization of cannabis,” says Candace Sellar, CSA Group’s Program Manager, Worker and Public Safety, Standards. “However, the CSA Group Technical Committee recognized that impairment could come from many sources — substance abuse, fatigue, stress, medical or environmental conditions — subsequently, the National Standard takes a more holistic approach to impairment.”

Possible mental health effects of the pandemic provide additional reasons for employers to address workplace impairment. One in three respondents to a survey conducted earlier this year on pandemic-related stress in individuals who use alcohol, reported increased use, while one in five reported high-risk use. *

CSA Z1005:21, Workplace incident investigation. Candace Sellar states that “the exciting thing about this edition is it digs deeper into investigations and human factors. For example, psychological health and safety considerations, including impairment, could be the root causes of incidents, but historically this hasn’t been captured or was overlooked during investigations. The committee that developed the update knew that the more employers learn about the true root causes of incidents, the more that employers and employees are empowered to prevent these occurrences from happening again — striving for continuous improvement from a prevention standpoint.”

What’s ahead

  • A new edition of CSA Z259.17:21, Selection and use of active fall protection equipment and systems, will be published in November 2021. Watch for it at
  • CSA Group welcomes your feedback! A new standard entitled CSA Z259.19, Managed fall protection training – will be available for Public Review in December 2021 at
  • Watch for more information in upcoming issues of eNews.

Michael’s tips

Standards can be your best source for consensus-based best practices, says Michael Wilson. “When a client asks, ‘How do I comply with this requirement?’ I direct them to a standard wherever possible.” He offers five tips for integrating a new or revised standard into your health and safety program.

  • Gather all stakeholders to review the standard — HR, joint health and safety committee members, health and safety staff, technical staff, etc. “Give yourself and your stakeholders time to review it, digest it and come back to it.”
  • Compare notes. What’s changed in the standard? How does the new or revised standard compare to what you have in place? Do you need to create a program or simply tweak what you have?
  • Break implementation down into manageable bits. “You don’t have to adopt all elements at once,” says Candace. Michael agrees. “If you try to do too much, people are going to get frustrated, and you’re going to have this great initiative that never gets off the ground.”
  • Maintain momentum. “Take a look at where you want to be and determine what changes you can apply in a week, in a month, in three months.” Steady progress and short-term goals are key. “If you set a longer-term target, you may find that when the time comes, little has been accomplished.”
  • Get help if you need it. CSA Group’s implementation guides offer expert guidance and practical tools like checklists, policies, and more. No-fee training may also be available.

How CSA Group can help

The following no-fee resources can be accessed at the CSA Store:

How WSPS can help

Our consultants can help you understand the benefits and implications of new and updated standards for your workplace and guide you through the implementation process — saving you time and allowing you to focus your internal resources where they are most needed.

Find out more by emailing or speaking with our on-duty consultant.


*  Mental Health and Substance Use During COVID-19, conducted by Leger for the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction and the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
The information in this article is accurate as of its publication date.