Employers are obliged to provide a safe work environment for employees. Unions are concerned for the safety of their members while at work. Assisting workers in achieving a safe and sustainable return to work after illness or injury has always been an appropriate goal of treatment. However, North American workplaces are increasingly challenged with how to address prescription and over-the-counter medication use by employees, while ensuring a safe working environment, given the dramatic increase in the number of prescriptions written by physicians in recent years. Learning objectives:
• Understand the perspectives and concerns of different stakeholders regarding a safe workplace and ‘medication’-related workplace impairment, especially for safety-sensitive workers
• Review the risks of the main medication groups used in treatment of patients with chronic pain
• Be able to consolidate your thoughts so that your organization can define its approach to safe workplace placement for patients with chronic pain who are using prescribed drugs
Dr. Paul Farnan, MD
Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, Canada
Dr. Farnan has worked in the field of addiction medicine and occupational medicine for more than twenty-five years. As well as being a member of the Occupational and Environmental Medical Association of Canada, he is Board certified in Addiction Medicine and Family Practice. He is a Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia.
His consulting with employers and unions has involved developing and delivering programs to assist employees whose work is impacted by addiction and other substance use challenges. He has a particular interest in the interface between workplace safety and impairment at work as a result of prescription medication use, illicit drug use and marijuana use.