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With CSA Group's new standard and guideline, any workplace can manage impairment

With CSA Group’' new standard and guideline, any workplace can manage impairment

"I was working in the...industry, 1,500 guys were working there all at once. When you have that many guys, something's gonna be available. Any kind of drugs you want. I got a work injury, and I got prescribed painkillers for it. Then something happened with the BBQ. I burnt my arm and had to have surgery for that. That's when I got prescribed bottles of pills. When they ran out, I would get dope from guys at work. I would dabble with heroin on the weekends… I kept it hidden at work. I would go from getting off work, cash my cheque, go get dope, go get high, and then I would keep some for the next day. I was a working addict."*

Could this be one of your employees? If someone's drug use came to your attention, would you know what to do? Does your workplace have a policy and procedures to deal with these and other causes of impairment, such as working in extreme temperatures, or exposure to toxic substances?

An employer's ability to provide a safe place to work depends in part on employees coming to work "fit for duty." Impaired workers can be a hazard to themselves, co-workers, and the public.

To mitigate this hazard, a new standard and guideline published by CSA Group provides workplaces of any size with the information and resources they need to integrate impairment into their health and safety management program.

"CSA Z1008:21 - Management of impairment in the workplace, is a comprehensive standard that covers virtually all of the challenges any workplace could face," explains Larry Masotti, Strategic Relationships Advisor for WSPS and a member of the standard's technical committee.

To quote the standard, it provides "requirements and guidance on managing factors that can reduce the negative influence of impairment in the workplace."

The standard is built on the plan-do-check-act model for continuous improvement followed by other CSA health and safety standards, which enables workplaces to integrate impairment protocols and processes into their existing health and safety program.

A 132-page implementation guide helps workplaces apply the standard, with a focus on impairment caused by substance use. The guide complements the standard with explanations, examples, and resources on addiction, mental health communication strategies, observation techniques, anti-stigma information, and more.

The guide also anticipates and answers key questions. "For instance," says Larry, "it gives you guidance on, 'How do we move it forward? What questions should I be asking myself and my colleagues to move this forward?'"

Both documents encourage workplaces to consider all relevant forms of impairment, as well as organizational and personal factors that may contribute to impairment. They are available for free viewing on the CSA Group website. A one-hour eCourse on the standard is also available at no cost.

Larry encourages Joint Health & Safety Committees, health and safety professionals, senior leadership team members, and anyone else with an interest in managing workplace impairment to log onto the CSA website and use "View/Access" to explore at no cost CSA Z1008:21 - Management of impairment in the workplace and CSA Z1008.1:21 - Implementation Guideline for CSA Z1008. Registering is required to view these documents.

Once you've looked at those resources, access CSA Z1008:21 Management of impairment in the workplace - Online Training, also available at no cost.

Additional resources

  • Check out WSPS’ related offerings, including “Impairment in the Workplace: What Managers Need to Know” (1/2 day). Our consultants can also help workplaces with establishing or revising their policies and programs to meet provincial and federal health and safety requirements. Learn more by visiting our Impairment, Marijuana and the Workplace resource page.


* Source: Behind the Numbers: Journey Map & 25 Stories from People with Lived Experience and Support Providers

, collected by the BC Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions;


The information in this article is accurate as of its publication date.