Total Safety Blog

What Impact will the Legalization of Cannabis Have on the Workplace?

It has been estimated that substance abuse in the construction industry is nearly twice the national average at around 15.6% of all construction workers.  According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, substance abuse is a factor in 35% of workplace injuries and fatalities, 35% of all absences, 40% of thefts, and 38% to 50% of all workers’ compensation claims. In March of 2021 New York State passed the Marihuana Regulation & Taxation Act known as the MRTA.  The MRTA legalizes recreational adult use of cannabis, certain possession of cannabis and creates a regulatory framework for the cultivation, distribution, and sale of recreational cannabis in the State of New York.  In addition to legalizing recreational cannabis and providing the framework for distribution and regulation, the MRTA also changed NY State Labor Law to provide protections for workers that legally use recreational cannabis outside of the workplace.  This can create a difficult situation for employers engaged in high-risk industries like construction.  On one hand the employer cannot discriminate against an employee engaging in legal cannabis use outside of the workplace and on the other hand the employer is required to maintain a safe work environment for employees and the public.  To make things even more complicated traditional biometric (urine or blood) cannabis testing does not correlate with impairment as a worker can test positive for several weeks after use even though the worker is not impaired at the time of testing. 

This continuing education event has been developed to support safety professionals, supervisors, managers, and company-wide leaders with the necessary tools and knowledge to recognize the signs/symptoms of cannabis, drug and alcohol misuse in a work environment including a technology-based solution for impairment assessment.  This training is critical for assessing impairment and understanding the necessary steps that should be taken to protect your organization, workers, and the public.

Participants will learn about:

  • Drug and Alcohol Use in the Construction Industry – Physical, behavioral and performance cues related to drug and alcohol abuse on the job site
  • Reasonable Suspicion Drug and Alcohol Screening – Including: how workplace policies and procedures are affected by legalization of recreational marijuana use in the State of New York
  • Defining Reasonable Suspicion and the Role of the Supervisor in Identifying Potentially Impaired Employees
  • Where can we find help? Overview of organizations and programs that assist individuals struggling with substance abuse
  • Application-based solution for identifying impairment due to ANY cause, including drugs, alcohol, fatigue, illness, chronic condition or injury.

WhenWednesday, November 10th from 6:00-7:30 pm ET

Register in Advance here


Peter Simon – MPH, CSP, JD – Head of Plans, Programs and Expediting, Gallagher Bassett Services, Inc., and an OSHA Outreach Instructor.Peter has worked in the construction safety and health industry for over 20 years.  At Gallagher Bassett Services, Inc.  Peter began his career as a professional firefighter and EMT. In addition to holding numerous certifications related to firefighting and emergency response, Peter is also a credentialed CSP (Certified Safety Professional) & CHST (Construction Health & Safety Technician).  Peter speaks Spanish, is a bilingual OSHA Outreach instructor and has lived in Latin America and Spain.

Dawid Ditrich, CSP, CIT – Lead Technical Instructor at TSC Training Academy (TSCTA), a Gallagher Bassett Services, Inc. company.  Dawid is an OSHA 500 and 501 Outreach Trainer with extensive experience in Confined Spaces, Lockout/Tagout, HAZCOM and Incident Command Response.  In addition, Dawid successfully completed the OSHA 5600 Disaster Site Worker Train-the-Trainer Course and NCCCO certified in Rigger Level I and II and Signalperson courses. Dawid is a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) and Certified Instructional Trainer (CIT) with the Board of Certified Safety Professionals and a member of ASSP.

Christopher Bensley
 – VP of Business Development for Impairment Science, responsible for the partnering and licensing of Druid Enterprise, a cloud-based platform for monitoring workplace safety. He has co-founded two software platforms and has 25+ years of experience bringing new products and technology systems to market in the finance, technology, and travel industries. He holds an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School and a BA from Dartmouth College. 

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