Aspects of the Effect of Substance Use on Health, Wellness and Safety of Employees and Families in Northern Remote Work Sites

  • Sylvia S. Barton
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 17)


The Northern B.C. Business Council on Substance Abuse, a non-profit organization in northern British Columbia, has been active in promoting healthy drug free workplace initiatives over the past six years. It has a membership of 71 business, industry and labour organizations throughout northern B.C. Many of its membership rely directly or indirectly on remote work site employment. In the past couple of years, a key issue raised by their membership is that an increase of substance availability and tolerance in remote work sites not only exists, but is having a negative impact on employee health and safety, increasing Workers’ Compensation Board costs, increasing company sick time or leaves of absence, reducing productivity, with a trickle down affect into families and communities. The paper discusses aspects of the effect of substance use on health, wellness and safety of employees and families in northern remote work sites. A view of how the economic sectors of mining, oil and gas, forestry, transportation and exploration are affected is shared. Experiences of the ways northern families and communities are dependent and personally impacted by this type of work are raised. Some of the challenges and rewards inherent in addressing the costs of substance abuse in this type of workforce are voiced. The paper concludes with a description of a pioneer research initiative that intends to find “northern solutions” to address substance use and quality-of-work-life issues.


Substance Abuse Substance Abuse Problem Employee Health Employee Assistance Program Railway Safety 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sylvia S. Barton
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Northern British ColumbiaPrince GeorgeCanada

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