Saskatchewan has the second highest worst workplace injury rate in Canada, according to Worksafe Saskatchewan, but a new app being introduced in the province could help with that.
It’s called AlertMeter. It’s being used all around the world and is being brought into Canada through Saskatchewan first.
The app tests an employee’s alertness for work through a quick puzzle before they start their shift – it doesn’t matter whether a person’s alertness is impaired through drugs, alcohol, or just lack of sleep.
“It’s not about drugs, it’s not about alcohol, it’s more about how are you today,” explained Ken Ricketts, executive director of the Safety Association of Saskatchewan Manufacturers (SASM). SASM is the group offering the app for sale.
Ricketts said the app is meant for employers in high safety-risk industries, like manufacturing or transportation.
“(Industries) where just a moment’s non-attention, a little bit of sleep, a little bit of slow reaction and you’re missing a finger, or you’re in front of a forklift, or you’ve dropped a load or those sorts of things.”
The app works best with a “no harm, no foul” HR policy, according to Ricketts.
“If you tell us you’re impaired it’s a freebee, go home – we’ll give you a ride home. If you do it every week, well it becomes a performance management issue, but once in a while? Hey, things happen to people.”
The app could especially be useful since the legalization of marijuana. Drug tests may show whether a person has used a drug in the past few weeks, but won’t necessarily show if the person is high while they’re working.
Ricketts said this app only tests whether the person is impaired at the time.
“To this date, we’ve only had in Canada the ability to test for drugs not test for impairment. So, with this, they can still test for marijuana if they want, but it’s going to be harder and harder to discriminate against your own employees when they are using a legal substance.”