Fitness For Duty and Workplace Safety
The mounting concern about workplace intoxication after Canada’s decision to legalize marijuana has brought about technology that is aimed at identifying drug use.
There have always been compliance regulations around drugs and alcohol for workplaces but the majority of drug testing was aimed at past activity and didn’t prevent workers from being intoxicated on the job.
Safe Work Spaces
Whether you agree or disagree with workplace testing there are definitely certain jobs that we can all agree should be done very, very sober. Where safety is concerned, this is one option being presented.
Safety Scan Technologies
Safety Scan Technologies is an Alberta-based company that has made a machine which scans the eyes of workers before a shift and validates their fitness to work within 30 seconds. This seems too good to be true in a lot of ways but they have research and sources to backup their technology.
One way this technology is different from others is that it doesn’t attempt to identify a specific substance causing the individual to be unfit for duty. It claims to respect the privacy of workers in this way.
In addition to drugs or alcohol the scan is meant to be valid for detecting dangerous fatigue as well. And we all know that fatigue can be as dangerous as alcohol for drivers and workers. Driving after being awake for just 18 hours can impact your alertness as much as a 0.05% blood alcohol content.
The team at York University lead by one of their professors has created an oral fluid that would test for the psychoactive substance in cannabis through saliva. This would provide on-site testing and is aiming to detect trace amounts of THC.
You can read more about their technology here.
Cannabix Technologies has been working to develop a breathalyzer for some time that can detect THC. This would allow for roadside or worksite instant testing.
You can find out more about Cannabix Technologies on their website
Hound is also working with the breathalyzer format to detect recent marijuana use. This method allows for instant testing without requiring the collection of any bodily substance other than breath. This allows the person administering the test to do so without worrying about contact with the individual at all.
Find out more about Hound Labs at houndlabs.com
Uses for new technologies
While a majority of these technologies are racing to be the chosen tool for roadside driver’s testing there’s no question that we will start to see similar testing offered to workplaces for drug testing.
The most unique approach I’ve seen is the safety scan. Scanning that includes fatigue as a work site risk and also doesn’t aim to determine the substance or level of intoxication. This approach is, I think, a very safety forward solution for work sites. It gives the sense that it’s not aiming to get anyone in trouble, it’s just there to make sure work is done in a safe state of mind.
And that’s a pretty unique approach to safe-for-duty testing.