Employers required to comply with naloxone requirements under OHSA

Elisa Nguyen
Local Journalism Initiative

Free training and nasal naloxone kits are being offered to businesses and organizations to reduce the risk of death from opioid poisoning in the workplace and increase awareness of opioid-related harms.

The opioid crisis in Canada has been a significant public health concern in recent years, with many individuals experiencing poisoning and substance use disorder. Ontario has been particularly affected, with high opioid-related deaths and hospitalization rates.

The crisis has also had significant impacts on businesses in Ontario, the Canadian Red Cross wrote.

Providing training and resources may empower businesses to actively address this ongoing public health crisis.

Funded by the Ontario Workplace Naloxone Program, each employer may register for a maximum of free training for two workers per workplace and one free order of a nasal spray naloxone kit.

Training entails a 45 to 60-minute self-directed online course that will teach workers about how opioids affect the body, how naloxone works, and how to administer the nasal naloxone.

Kits will be sent to the workplace location once employers submit an attestation confirming that the naloxone kit will be in the charge of a worker who has received the required training.

Workplaces with multiple workplace locations can register additional workers for training and order kits for each workplace location.

As of June 1, 2023, the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) requires employers to provide and maintain naloxone kits in the workplace if the employer becomes aware that there may be a risk of a worker opioid overdose at the workplace.

Those employers must also ensure that the naloxone kit is in the charge of a worker who works in the vicinity of the kit and who has received training to recognize an opioid overdose to administer naloxone and to acquaint the worker with any hazards related to the administration of naloxone.

Heather Johnson, executive director for the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce, said that the Ontario Chamber of Commerce is working with the Red Cross to get the word out to businesses in the province about the program.

“This is a vital program for our area. Please take advantage for yourself and your staff to have this training and receive the free kit,” she said.

The program is free until November 30, 2023.

For more information, Johnson suggested sending an email to WNP@redcross.ca or calling 1-888-881-8098.