If you’ve been uncertain about how to handle the increased use of marijuana among U.S. workers and the substance’s effect on workplace safety, you’ll be pleased to hear that two influential safety groups have just released guidance documents on managing cannabis in the workplace.
In a newly issued policy paper, the National Safety Council (NSC) said it’s unsafe for people under the influence of marijuana to work in safety-sensitive positions due to the increased risk of injuries.
The NSC document said there’s no level of cannabis use that’s safe or acceptable for people who perform safety-sensitive jobs. The NSC cited a 2015 study that found employees who tested positive for marijuana had 55% more incidents and 85% more injuries than those who tested negative.
In addition, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) recently issued a statement about cannabis use, pointing out that the organization strongly supports legislative proposals that would allow employers to prohibit people in safety-sensitive positions from working while under the influence of marijuana.
What it means to you:
Keep in mind that it’s important for you to be able to explain why a particular job is safety sensitive. Should a staffer pursue a lawsuit because he or she was removed from the workplace for being under the influence of illegal drugs, you’ll be in a better legal position if you can show exactly why the work the person was supposed to be doing was safety sensitive, as well as the potential impact of an injury incident.
(From the Nov. 12, 2019 issue of OSHA Compliance News)