Recent amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”), specifically section 25.2, now require employers to provide and maintain a naloxone kit in the workplace if certain circumstances described in the Occupational Health and Safety Act apply. Employers must also ensure naloxone kits are located in the vicinity of a trained worker who works in the workplace.
Naloxone is a drug that can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
Not all employers in Ontario must comply with the OHSA requirements to provide naloxone in the workplace. Employers must provide a naloxone kit when an employer becomes aware, or ought reasonably to be aware, of the risk of a worker having an opioid overdose at the workplace.
Every employer should therefore assess if the naloxone requirement applies to it. Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development published a guide to help employers determine if their workplace is at risk. Factors include:
- Has a worker already had an overdose in the workplace?
- Has a worker voluntarily disclosed they use opioids and are at risk of overdosing at work?
- Has the employer observed opioid use in the workplace or become aware of it (e.g., through a workplace investigation or by observing drug-use paraphernalia in the workplace, etc.)? Has someone in the workplace brought this to the employer’s attention?
In addition, Naloxone Kit O. Reg 559/22 prescribe the required contents of the naloxone kit.
For a limited time, Ontario’s Workplace Naloxone Program is providing support to employers who are required to comply with the naloxone requirements in the Occupational Health and Safety Act by providing free naloxone training for up to two workers per workplace and/or one free nasal spray naloxone kit per workplace through the Canadian Red Cross or St. John Ambulance.