Alberta’s Oil Sands and Construction Industries Launch Drug and Alcohol Risk Reduction Pilot Project

EDMONTON, ALBERTA, Jun 20, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) — Representatives of Alberta’s energy and construction industries today announced their participation in a Drug and Alcohol Risk Reduction Pilot Project (DARRPP), a two-year initiative to evaluate and report on the effectiveness of comprehensive workplace alcohol and drug programs that will include random workplace testing.

DARRPP is led by a multi-stakeholder working group with broad representation that includes major oil sands industry employers and labour providers. The project’s mandate is to establish best practices for random workplace alcohol and drug testing for safety sensitive sites and positions and develop guidelines for processes such as case management, assessment and follow-up. Working from a shared model, participating employers will introduce and monitor random workplace testing programs and share statistics related to their implementation.

Random workplace testing will not begin immediately. Over the summer and early fall, participating companies will be putting appropriate testing systems and processes in place, with implementation of pilot testing programs expected in late 2012 and early 2013. DARRPP will report its findings and recommendations to the participants, government and other stakeholders in 2014, with a goal of recommending a useful industry policy framework based on the results of the pilot.

Alcohol and drug abuse in the workplace is an unfortunate reality in our society, and it poses serious risks to the individuals involved, their co-workers, families and communities,” says DARRPP Administrator Pat Atkins, who has worked with alcohol and drug policies and programs as an oil sands human resources manager for over 25 years. “The addition of this pilot project builds on existing industry programs and policies and represents an important step forward in our approach to improving workplace safety.”

Atkins notes that, along with effective safety training, sound policies and procedures, and disciplined incident reporting, alcohol and drug testing programs in the workplace can lead to measurable improvements in safety.