Celebrating our 10 year partnership with the Town of Tofield

Last Friday David presented the Town of Tofield with a symbol of our appreciation for an amazing
10 year partnership!

Dave taught Dave today, with his sweater vest

What else can I do to improve my overall mental health?


Good mental health helps us to achieve balance and cope with stressful times.

Ten general tips for mental health
Build confidence – Identify your abilities and weaknesses together, accept them build on them and do the best with what you have
Eat right, keep fit – A balanced diet, exercise and rest can help you to reduce stress and enjoy life.
Make time for family and friends – These relationships need to be nurtured; if taken for granted they will not be there to share life’s joys and sorrows.
Give and accept support – Friends and family relationships thrive when they are “put to the test”
Create a meaningful budget – Financial problems cause stress. Over-spending on our “wants” instead of our “needs” is often the culprit.
Volunteer – Being involved in community gives a sense of purpose and satisfaction that paid work cannot.
Manage stress – We all have stressors in our lives but learning how to deal with them when they threaten to overwhelm us will maintain our mental health.
Find strength in numbers – Sharing a problem with others have had similar experiences may help you find a solution and will make you feel less isolated.
Identify and deal with moods – We all need to find safe and constructive ways to express our feelings of anger, sadness, joy and fear.
Learn to be at peace with yourself – Get to know who you are, what makes you really happy, and learn to balance what you can and cannot change about yourself.

From: Canadian Mental Health Association – National Office

Other mental fitness tips include:

  • Give yourself permission to take a break from your worries and concerns. Recognize that dedicating even a short time every day to your mental fitness will reap significant benefits in terms of feeling rejuvenated and more confident.
  • “Collect” positive emotional moments – Make a point of recalling times when you have experienced pleasure, comfort, tenderness, confidence or other positive things.
  • Do one thing at a time – Be “present” in the moment, whether out for a walk or spending time with friends, turn off your cell phone and your mental “to do” list.
  • Enjoy hobbies – Hobbies can bring balance to your life by allowing you to do something you enjoy because you want to do it.
  • Set personal goals – Goals don’t have to be ambitious. They could be as simple as finishing a book, walking around the block every day, learning to play bridge, or calling your friends instead of waiting by the phone. Whatever goal you set, reaching it will build confidence and a sense of satisfaction.
  • Express yourself – Whether in a journal or talking to a wall, expressing yourself after a stressful day can help you gain perspective, release tension, and boost your body’s resistance to illness.
  • Laugh – Laughter often really is the best medicine. Even better is sharing something that makes you smile or laugh with someone you know.
  • Treat yourself well – Take some “you” time – whether it’s cooking a good meal, having a bubble bath or seeing a movie, do something that brings you joy.

Adapted from: Canadian Mental Health Association Mental Fitness Tips.

How do I know if someone is (or if I am) having trouble coping with stress?

There are many different signs and symptoms that can indicate when someone is having difficulty coping with the amount of stress they are experiencing:

Physical: headaches, grinding teeth, clenched jaws, chest pain, shortness of breath, pounding heart, high blood pressure, muscle aches, indigestion, constipation or diarrhea, increased perspiration, fatigue, insomnia, frequent illness.

Psychosocial: anxiety, irritability, sadness, defensiveness, anger, mood swings, hypersensitivity, apathy, depression, slowed thinking or racing thoughts; feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, or of being trapped, lower motivation.

Cognitive: decreased attention, narrowing of perception, forgetfulness, less effective thinking, less problem solving, reduced ability to learn; easily distracted.

Behavioural: overeating or loss of appetite, impatience, quickness to argue, procrastination, increased use of alcohol or drugs, increased smoking, withdrawal or isolation from others, neglect of responsibility, poor job performance, poor personal hygiene, change in religious practices, change in close family relationships.

Below is a quiz from the Canadian Mental Health Association of Ontario you can take to help identify your stress levels:

DO YOU FREQUENTLY:  YES   NO 
Neglect your diet?
Try to do everything yourself?
Blow up easily?
Seek unrealistic goals?
Fail to see the humour in situations others find funny?
Act rude?
Make a ‘big deal’ of everything?
Look to other people to make things happen?
Have difficulty making decisions
Complain you are disorganized?
Avoid people whose ideas are different from your own?
Keep everything inside?
Neglect exercise?
Have few supportive relationships?
Use sleeping pills and tranquilizers without a doctor’s approval?
Get too little rest?
Get angry when you are kept waiting?
Ignore stress symptoms?
Put things off until later?
Think there is only one right way to do something?
Fail to build relaxation time into your day?
Gossip?
Race through the day?
Spend a lot of time complaining about the past?
Fail to get a break from noise and crowds?

 

Adapted from: What’s Your Stress Index? Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario (no date).

Interpretation of your score (based on the number of “Yes” selections):

0-5:  There are few hassles in your life.  Make sure though, that you are not trying to deliberately avoid problems.

6-10: You’ve got your life in fairly good control.  Work on the choices and habits that could still be causing you some unnecessary stress in your life.

11-15: You are approaching the danger zone.  You may be suffering stress-related symptoms and your relationships could be strained.  Think carefully about choices you’ve made and take relaxation breaks every day.

16-25: Emergency!  It is critical that you stop and re-think how you are living; change your attitudes and pay careful attention to diet, exercise and relaxation.

 

What are some general tips for dealing with stress at the workplace?

 

Since the causes of workplace stress vary greatly, so do the strategies to reduce or prevent it.

Where stress in the workplace is caused, for example, by a physical agent, it is best to control it at its source. If the workplace is too loud, control measures to deal with the noise should be implemented where ever possible. If you are experiencing pain from repetitive strain, workstations can be re-designed to reduce repetitive and strenuous movements. More detailed information and suggestions are located in the many other documents in OSH Answers (such as noise, ergonomics, or violence in the workplace, etc.) or by asking the Inquiries Service.

Job design is also an important factor. Good job design accommodates an employee’s mental and physical abilities.

Is there anything I can do to help myself deal with the stress I am experiencing at work?

In many cases, the origin of the stress is something that cannot be changed immediately. Therefore, finding ways to help maintain good mental health is essential. There are many ways to be proactive in dealing with stress.

In the workplace, you might try some of the following:

  • Learn to relax, take several deep breaths throughout the day, or have regular stretch breaks. Stretching is simple enough to do anywhere and only takes a few seconds.
  • Take charge by taking 10 minutes at the beginning of each day to prioritize and organize your day.
  • Be honest with your colleagues, but be constructive and make practical suggestions.
  • Be realistic about what you can change.

In general, the following job design guidelines will help minimize or control workplace stress:

  • the job should be reasonably demanding (but not based on “sheer endurance”) and provide the employee with at least a minimum of variety in job tasks
  • the employee should be able to learn on the job and be allowed to continue to learn as their career progresses
  • the job should comprise some area of decision-making that the individual can call his or her own.
  • there should be some degree of social support and recognition in the workplace
  • the employee should feel that the job leads to some sort of desirable future

What can the employer do to help?

Employers should assess the workplace for the risk of stress. Look for pressures at work which could cause high and long lasting levels of stress, and who may be harmed by these pressures. Determine what can be done to prevent the pressures from becoming negative stressors.

Employers can address stress in many ways:

DO

  • Treat all employees in a fair and respectful manner.
  • Take stress seriously and be understanding to staff under too much pressure.
  • Be aware of the signs and symptoms that a person may be having trouble coping with stress.
  • Involve employees in decision-making and allow for their input directly or through committees, etc.
  • Encourage managers to have an understanding attitude and to be proactive by looking for signs of stress among their staff.
  • Provide workplace health and wellness programs that target the true source of the stress. The source of stress at work can be from any number of causes – safety, ergonomics, job demands, etc. Survey the employees and ask them for help identifying the actual cause.• Incorporate stress prevention or positive mental health promotion in policies or your corporate mission statement.
  • Make sure staff have the training, skills and resources they need.
  • Design jobs to allow for a balanced workload. Allow employees to have control over the tasks they do as much as possible.
  • Value and recognize individuals’ results and skills.
  • Provide support. Be clear about job expectations.
  • Keep job demands reasonable by providing manageable deadlines, hours of work, and clear duties as well as work that is interesting and varied.
  • Provide access to Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) for those who wish to attend.

DO NOT

  • Do not tolerate bullying or harassment in any form.
  • Do not ignore signs that employees are under pressure or feeling stressed.
  • Do not forget that elements of the workplace itself can be a cause of stress. Stress management training and counselling services can be helpful to individuals, but do not forget to look for the root cause of the stress and to address them as quickly as possible.
Stress

Anything that poses a challenge or a threat to our well-being is a stress. Some stresses get you going and they are good for you –

It is often what provides us with the energy and motivation to meet our daily challenges both at home and at the workplace. Stress in these situations is the kind that helps you “rise” to a challenge and meet your goals such as deadlines, sales or production targets, or finding new clients. Without any stress at all, many say our lives would be boring and would probably feel pointless.

However, too much stress can have negative impacts. In this blog I am focusing on stress that is bad for you. When the feeling of satisfaction turns into exhaustion, frustration or dissatisfaction, or when the challenges at work become too demanding, we begin to see negative signs of stress.

Can stress cause health effects?
Yes, stress can have an impact on your overall health. Our bodies are designed, pre-programmed if you wish, with a set of automatic responses to deal with stress. This system is very effective for the short term “fight or flight” responses we need when faced with an immediate danger. The problem is that our bodies deal with all types of stress in the same way. Experiencing stress for long periods of time (such as lower level but constant stressors at work) will activate this system, but it doesn’t get the chance to “turn off”.

The body’s “pre-programmed” response to stress has been called the “Generalized Stress Response” and includes:

  • increased blood pressure
  • increased metabolism (e.g., faster heartbeat, faster respiration)
  • decrease in protein synthesis, intestinal movement (digestion), immune and allergic response systems
  • increased cholesterol and fatty acids in blood for energy production systems
  • localized inflammation (redness, swelling, heat and pain)
  • faster blood clotting
  • increased production of blood sugar for energy
  • increased stomach acids
    From: Basic Certification Training Program: Participant’s Manual, Copyright© 2006 by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario.

Stress can contribute to accidents/injuries by causing people to:

  • sleep badly
  • over-medicate themselves and/or drink excessively
  • feel depressed
  • feel anxious, jittery and nervous
  • feel angry and reckless (often due to a sense of unfairness or injustice)

When people engage in these behaviours or are in these emotional states, they are more likely to:

  • become momentarily (but dangerously) distracted
  • make errors in judgment
  • put their bodies under physical stress, increasing the potential for strains and sprains
  • fail in normal activities that require hand-eye or foot-eye coordination.

Stress can also lead to accidents or injuries directly by not giving the person the control necessary to stop the threat to their physical well-being.

Luckily, there are usually a number of warning signs that help indicate when you are having trouble coping with stress before any severe signs become apparent. These signs are listed below.

The signs and symptoms from stress tend to progress through several phases or stages.
The phases can be described as below:

Phase Signs/Symptoms Action
Phase 1 – Warning 
Early warning signs are often more emotional than physical
and may take a year or more before they are noticeable.
  • feelings of vague anxiety
  • depression
  • boredom
  • apathy
  • emotional fatigue
  • talking about feelings
  • taking a vacation
  • making a change from regular activities
  • taking time for yourself
Phase 2 – Mild Symptoms
Warning signs have progressed and intensified.
Over a period of 6 to 18 months, physical signs may also be evident.
  • sleep disturbances
  • more frequent headaches/colds
  • muscle aches
  • intensified physical and emotional fatigue
  • withdrawal from contact with others
  • irritability
  • intensified depression
  • more aggressive lifestyle changes may be needed.
  • short-term counseling
Phase 3 – Entrenched Cumulative Stress
This phase occurs when the above phases continue to be ignored.
Stress starts to create a deeper impact on career, family life and personal well-being.
  • increased use of alcohol, smoking, non-prescription drugs
  • depression
  • physical and emotional fatigue
  • loss of sex drive
  • ulcers
  • marital discord
  • crying spells
  • intense anxiety
  • rigid thinking
  • withdrawal
  • restlessness
  • sleeplessness
·         The help of medical and psychological professionals is highly recommended.
Phase 4 – Severe/ Debilitating Cumulative Stress Reaction
This phase is often considered “self-destructive” and tends to occur after 5 to10 years of continued stress.
  • careers end prematurely
  • asthma
  • heart conditions
  • severe depression
  • lowered self-esteem/self-confidence
  • inability to perform one’s job
  • inability to manage personal life
  • withdrawal
  • uncontrolled anger, grief, rage
  • suicidal or homicidal thinking
  • muscle tremors
  • extreme chronic fatigue
  • over-reaction to minor events
  • agitation
  • frequent accidents
  • carelessness, forgetfulness
  • paranoia
·         Significant intervention from professionals.

From: Anschuetz, B.L. “The High Cost of Caring: Coping with Workplace Stress” in Sharing: Epilepsy Ontario. Posted 29 November 1999.

Are there elements of work that may contribute to abuse of substances?

 

Various and numerous personal and social factors can play a major role in substance abuse. In general, however, some work-related factors can include:

  • high stress,
  • low job satisfaction,
  • long hours or irregular shifts,
  • fatigue,
  • repetitious duties,
  • periods of inactivity or boredom,
  • isolation,
  • remote or irregular supervision and,
  • easy access to substances.

What can the workplace do?

Work is an important place to address substance abuse issues. Employers and employees can collaborate to design policies which outline what is an acceptable code of behavior and what is not. By establishing or promoting programs such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), employers can help troubled employees more directly or provide referrals to community services.

Workplaces are encouraged to establish a procedure or policy so that help can be provided in a professional and consistent manner. It is important for supervisors and managers to have a resource or procedure that they can rely on if the need arises.

Employees need to know that everyone will be treated the same way. Pre-planning, as for many other occupational health and safety issues, is the best way to avoid confusion and frustration in times that are already difficult.

In addition, managers and supervisors should be educated in how to recognize and deal with substance abuse issues and employees should be offered educational programs.

What elements should be in a substance abuse policy?

A company substance abuse policy should emphasize that the program is confidential and be jointly created by both employee and management.

Elements of the policy would include:

  • statement of the purpose and objectives of the program
  • definition of substance abuse
  • statement of who is covered by the policy and/or program
  • statement of the employee’s rights to confidentiality
  • that arrangements have been made for employee education (e.g., a substance-free awareness program)
  • that arrangements have been made for training employees, supervisors, and others in identifying impaired behaviour and substance abuse.
  • provision for assisting chronic substance abusers
  • outline of how to deal with impaired workers
  • if necessary, statement of under what circumstances drug or alcohol testing will be conducted
  • provision for disciplinary actions.

The idea that abuse of substances may affect the workplace, just as the workplace may affect substance abuse is, however, increasing in acceptance.

Substance Abuse in the Workplace


The fact is that some people abuse substances such as alcohol, illicit drugs, and/or misuse of prescription drugs.
Many aspects of the workplace today require alertness, and accurate and quick reflexes. An impairment to these qualities can cause serious accidents, and interfere with the accuracy and efficiency of work.

Other ways that substance abuse can cause problems at work include:

  • after-effects of substance use (hangover, withdrawal) affecting job performance
  • absenteeism, illness, and/or reduced productivity
  • preoccupation with obtaining and using substances while at work, interfering with attention and concentration
  • illegal activities at work including selling illicit drugs to other employees,
  • psychological or stress-related effects due to substance abuse by a family member, friend or co-worker that affects another person’s job performance.

The effects of various types of substances?

Category Examples Examples of General Effects
Alcohol beer, wine, spirits impaired judgement, slowed reflexes, impaired motor function, sleepiness or drowsiness, coma, overdose may be fatal
Cannabis marijuana, hashish distorted sense of time, impaired memory, impaired coordination
Depressants sleeping medicines, sedatives,
some tranquilizers
inattention, slowed reflexes, depression, impaired balance, drowsiness, coma, overdose may be fatal
Hallucinogens LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide),
PCP (phencyclidine), mescaline
inattention, sensory illusions, hallucinations, disorientation, psychosis
Inhalants hydrocarbons, solvents, gasoline intoxication similar to alcohol, dizziness, headache
Nicotine cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snuff initial stimulant, later depressant effects
Opiates morphine, heroin, codeine,
some prescription pain medications
loss of interest, “nodding”, overdose may be fatal. If used by injection, the sharing of needles may spread Hepatitis B, or C and HIV/AIDS.
Stimulants cocaine, amphetamines elevated mood, overactivity, tension/anxiety, rapid heartbeat, constriction of blood vessels

(Source: Blume, S.B., Alcohol and Drug Abuse in the Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety 4th edition, International Labour Office, 1998)

What are the costs to a business?

In general, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA), reports that substance abuse cost the Canadian economy more than $39.8 billion in 2002.
CCSA also states that the largest costs are for:

  • productivity losses
  • direct health care,
  • police and other types of law enforcement, and
  • other direct costs.

As such, costs to a business may be both direct and indirect. The impact of substance abuse that have been reported often focus on four major issues:

  • Premature death/fatal accidents
  • Injuries/accident rates
  • Absenteeism/extra sick leave, and
  • Loss of production.

Additional costs can include:

  • tardiness/sleeping on the job
  • theft
  • poor decision making
  • loss of efficiency
  • lower morale of co-workers
  • increased likelihood of having trouble with co-workers/supervisors or tasks
  • higher turnover
  • training of new employees
  • disciplinary procedures
  • drug testing programs
  • medical/rehabilitation/employee assistance programs
Detecting Marijuana Impairment

cannabix-prototype-feature-crop-breath-test

People with impairments have trouble doing something. If you have a hearing impairment, you can’t hear very well. If you have a taste impairment, you can’t enjoy flavors. If you bump your head and can’t remember your name, you’re suffering a mental impairment. Some impairments are temporary. If you sprain your ankle, it will heal, but you’ll have to live with the impairment for awhile. Losing your job is an impairment to your career and finances.

Being impaired means a person(s) is below their normal ability to function. Impairments make things more difficult.

Currently we do not have a way to measure impairment from Marijuana, but there are new methods being created and tested, it’s matter of time before we have something that will accurately detect Marijuana impairment level.

Cannabix Technologies is working on a device similar to a breathalyzer.  The device works to isolate and detect compounds using principals of mass spectrometry.  Initial prototype testing in humans has been successful in detecting THC so far.

DriveABLE is currently testing a tablet-based tool in Colorado, which uses six neuro-psych tests that combine the results in areas including reaction time, field of vision and executive functioning.  The direct application of the software is to detect impairment.

Employees don’t have the legal right to work impaired or compromise safety to satisfy their own medical needs, BUT employers can work with their staff on agreements around how and when they take their medication. Conditions may include that the employee can only consume cannabis at certain times of day, and that it’s taken exactly as prescribed. It’s recommended companies thoroughly train management on identifying signs of active impairment and that managers are empowered to make judgment calls and decisions.

How effective is oral fluid drug testing for Marijuana use?

 

Saliva testing strips are also known as an oral fluid drug test and is majorly used for occupational drug testing.

They test for small amounts (or traces) of active THC which remain within the saliva when people use Marijuana.   This doesn’t tell us if a person is impaired, just that the person has come into contact/ingested the drug within the last 6 to 8 hours, as that’s roughly how long the body would take to metabolize the active THC to carboxy THC.

Process

  • Strip is inserted into the mouth of the person being checked
  • The strip gets wet
  • The presence of certain drugs can be shown by color changes in the strip
  • Traces of the drugs being tested for will create a color band on the strip indicating presence of the drug while a negative result will show no color.

Several factors can affect the detection times, making it vary from hours, days, weeks and months depending on the drug being tested and the amount taken.  The most appropriate detection times for saliva test when various drugs have been used include”

  • Alcohol – basically from the time of consumption to 12 hours
  • Cannabis – this takes a few minutes from ingestion time to a day
  • Cocaine – few minutes from ingestion time to a day
  • PCP – Few minutes from the ingestion time to 3 days
  • Opiates – From an hour of intake up to 3 days
  • Benzodiazepines – has not been known yet
  • Amphetamines – takes a few minutes to 3 days of consumption
  • Methamphetamine – takes half an hour from ingestion to up to 3 days

Advantages:

  • Eliminates the instances of cheating since the process of sample collection is not hard as in the case of urine where users can simply change the sample.
  • Quick and easy
  • Immediate results
  • Simple and un-intrusive
  • No need for a private room (like urine testing requires)
  • Checks for recent THC use, not long term
How effective is urinalysis to test for marijuana use?

Urinalysis is commonly used for workplace drug testing, it looks for the parent drug and/or metabolite in the persons urine, in this case it’s detecting carboxy-THC.  But, you must remember when it comes to detecting marijuana, THC is stored in the fat cells, taking longer to leave the body than many other substances.

Using the urinalysis method means that we can confidently say a person has consumed or been exposed to a substance within a period of time, but cannot determine any impairment.

Two common types of drug testing available:

  • Pre-screening – with lab confirmation on a non-negative sample
    • A sample is collected, and it is tested immediately for the parent drug and/or metabolite in the sample by qualified technicians.
    • Results in minutes
    • If the technician gets a non-negative result the sample will be sent to the lab for confirmation.
    • Lab will confirm within 24-36 hours.
  • Lab-based
    • Sample is collected and sent straight to a lab for testing
    • Results will be available 24-36 hours later.
Cannabinoids (THC, Marijuana) Approximate* Detection Time:
1 time only 5-8 days
2-4x per month 11-18 days
2-4x per week 23-35 days
5-6x per week 33-48 days
Daily 49-63 days

*Some variances in detection range can occur depending on certain characteristics of the individual being testing. These detection ranges are provided as a general guideline, but should not be considered as a concrete time frame.

Pros

  • This is a recognized DOT standardized method for drug testing
  • Lab can identify the exact substance being detected.
  • Pre-screening saves time (compared to lab-based), since only positive sample are sent to the lab.
  • Straight to the lab testing prevents any discrepancies between the tester and technician.

Cons

  • Need a suitable private location to collect the sample
  • Shows long history for THC use (over 30 days in some cases) without determining the time-period when the drug was consumed
  • Adultration/tampering of urine is possible
  • It may not be that donor’s urine
  • More costly and time-consuming than other methods
  • Straight to the lab testing is time-consuming

Reasons why urine tests fail us:

  • Because they test for carboxy-THC, we can determine a time-period when the drug was consumed, but not any level of impairment.
  • Pre-screening does not test for active THC.
  • Adulteration/tampering of urine is possible.
  • May not be that donor’s urine.
  • Need a closed room/area to conduct tests.
  • Cannot detect level of impairment.
Just because it’s medical doesn’t mean you can partake at work.

 

Medical use of marijuana creates several challenges for employers, one of the main ones is that employees could be impaired at work.  This is where having a policy, and educating the employees, can go a long way in preventing these types of situations.  All employees have to abide by company policy, just because it’s medicinal, doesn’t mean it’s exempt.  Unfortunately, there is always a risk that an employee may be impaired at work, informed or not.

Currently, we do not have any agreed upon method of detecting the level of the THC drug impairment, as urine test tests for carboxy-THC which only indicates that THC has been in the system at some time in the past hours, days, weeks, or weeks.  The courts have decided that “urinalysis does not demonstrate current impairment.  It does indicate use, but not in the quality, quantity or time of use.” (Suncor Energy Inc v Unifor Local 707A)

Another method is oral fluid analysis, which consists of using saliva from the mouth and identifies any active THC, instead of carboxy-THC.  This can tell the employer that the employee may have consumed the marijuana within the last 3 – 6 hours, but still cannot confirm impairment.

One answer to this issue is workplaces training supervisors to identify signs of impairment, and together with the aid of oral fluid (or urine) drug tests, can come to a confident decision on whether a person is not fit for duty.

Medical Marijuana in the Workplace

Right now, marijuana use for medical purposes, is currently legal in Canada.  But one must remember that like many other medications, without a prescription, possessing it is illegal across all the provinces.  This brings up questions of how medical marijuana will affect your workplace.

Under current legislation, the duty to accommodate an employee who uses medical marijuana, is the same as if a company has a disabled employee, who has been prescribed medication.  There are limitations to this duty however, when it comes to the use of it, a prescription for medical marijuana does not entitle an employee to:

  • Be impaired at work
  • Compromise his or her safety, or the safety of others
  • Smoke in the workplace.  Anti-smoking laws apply to smoking marijuana in the same way they do to regular cigarettes
  • Unexcused absences or late arrivals

By law the employer is required to attempt to find suitable, accommodated work for the employee, as would be required for any other disabled employee with a medical drug prescription.

Employers may wish to consider providing similar accommodation measures it does for other disabled employees.  These measures may include:

  • Moving the employee out of a safety-sensitive position
  • Providing more frequent breaks
  • Implementing alternative scheduling
  • Altering the employee’s duties

An employer may request medical information from the employee’s doctor, or seek the assistance of an independent medical examiner where there are questions about the employee’s fitness for duty, and what will be appropriate accommodation.  As well, it may be advised that they need to revise their workplace policies “drug and alcohol use” section, to include terms like “impairment” and “fit for duty”.