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Monday, November 26, 2018 @ 12:01 am
The chairman of the Canadian Association of Mold Makers is calling for a zero-tolerance policy that would ban the use of cannabis by employees in manufacturing, where safety is critical.
“I think for any heavy industrial machinery where lives are at risk, I think zero tolerance is the only option,” said Jonathon Azzopardi, who is also president of Laval International, a moldmaking company based in the Windsor region.
“We have to wear safety glasses when we’re on the shop floor,” Azzopardi said. “Both parties are punished, and there’s a zero-tolerance level for not wearing safety glasses.
“For us zero tolerance is you cannot have [cannabis] in your system when at work and the employee is in charge of making sure they have none in their system at work.”
Azzopardi acknowledged employers cannot deny someone their right to use cannabis outside of their working hours, but he’s concerned about the unknowns around the now-legal drug.
“Our industry is a life-or-death situation, and we believe those rules should be different for us than for those in an office environment,” he said.
IMPAIRMENT A ‘GREY AREA’
The recreational use of cannabis became legal Oct. 17. Under the federal Cannabis Act, Canadians age 18 or older can possess up to 30 grams of legal cannabis in its dried or “equivalent nondried form” in public.
A Nanos Research survey conducted for CTV News indicated that 71 per cent of Canadians polled were not interested in smoking marijuana once it became legal.
Unlike alcohol, THC, the chemical in marijuana, can remain in a user’s system for days, weeks or months. But a positive drug test does not necessarily imply impairment, either.
“These are very grey areas and, unfortunately, I have a feeling somebody is going to get hurt before someone takes the time to do a full-blown study on the long-term and short-term effects of marijuana,” Azzopardi said.
He wants the federal government to consider giving employers the right to test for drugs when impairment is suspected. “If an employee in our case was under the influence and operating heavy machinery and was to kill somebody, we, as the employer, have no way to defend ourselves.”
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