HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Union Balks At Forestry Firm's Drug-testing Regimen
Pubdate: Fri, 20 Feb 2004
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 The Province
Author: Paul Luke
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


The IWA-Canada is bucking Weyerhaeuser Co.'s move to conduct drug and 
alcohol tests at its B.C. coastal operations.

Weyerhaeuser introduced the drug-testing policy on the coast earlier this 
year in an effort to improve workplace safety and has so far tested one 

The IWA has objected to the program, arguing it compromises workers' 
rights. The dispute has been taken to an arbitrator.

An IWA spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Weyerhaeuser, which also tests employees in the U.S., began to phase in 
drug testing in Canada last year, starting with operations in Saskatchewan 
and parts of Ontario, spokeswoman Sarah Goodman said.

In a survey of 2,000 coastal B.C. Weyerhaeuser employees two years ago, one 
in five said they believe there is a substance abuse problem in the 
workplace, she said.

"It's not going to be random testing but testing under very specific 
circumstances," Goodman said.

"Anyone testing positive is not going to be fired. They would see a 
substance-abuse counselor who would work with employees to determine what, 
if any, treatment is required."

Weyerhaeuser plans to conduct drug-tests in three cases:

- - New employees who are to start safety-sensitive jobs such as falling or 
driving vehicles. Current employees are exempt.

- - Employees, new or current, who act in an impaired manner.

- - Employees involved in an accident where there is potential for serious 

Similar substance abuse programs are widespread in other industries such as 
oil and gas and rail, Goodman said. Impaired people are 3.6 times more 
likely to hurt themselves or someone else.

"There used to be a belief that injuries were a fact of life," she said. 
"We're trying to change people's behaviours so that we can eliminate 

Weyerhaeuser plans to phase in drug-testing at all its Canadian operations, 
including those in interior B.C., Goodman said.
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