Workplace Impairment: Workplace Safety
National Safety Month
June is National Safety Month – the annual observance to help keep each other safe from the workplace to any place. We are excited to join the National Safety Council (NSC) in observing this important initiative. The National Safety Council is America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate. They also focus on eliminating the leading causes of preventable injuries and deaths.
This week we will discuss Workplace Impairment. First, impairment from fatigue, stress, mental distress, alcohol, and other substances can put employees and your entire workplace at risk. Plus, impairment has been a workplace safety issue for decades.
The National Safety Council defines impairment as the inability to function normally or safely as a result of a number of factors – from chemical substances (e.g., alcohol, opioids, cannabis), physical factors (e.g., fatigue and certain medical conditions), social factors (e.g., professional and other stressors) and mental distress (e.g., related illness and other factors).
According to the National Safety Council, the pandemic forced a new era of workplace safety, one where employers are grappling with increased substance use and misuse as well as increased mental health concerns, including depression and anxiety – medical conditions that are frequently interrelated. In particular, the pandemic has worsened the country’s overdose crisis, which has been challenging employers for several years. In 2021, there were an estimated 107,000 overdose deaths – the highest number ever recorded.
More than 90% of employers agree that fatigue, mental distress, and stress can cause impairment, in addition to drug misuse. Employers need to consider all forms of impairment when determining whether an individual is fit to work or drive safely.
The National Safety Council provides tools and training to help employers recognize the signs and address impairment. Learn more here. In addition, the NSC resources can help employers create a workplace free from impairment with policies, procedures, and materials designed to support employee health and prioritize safety.
ABR Safety Tip for Workplace Impairment: Take Regular Breaks
To conclude, we will leave you with an ABR safety tip! It’s important that you always take regular breaks. Tired workers are the most prone to an accident. The more tired you are, the less aware you are of your surroundings, and the more at-risk you are for an injury. Take the breaks you have on a regular schedule to keep yourself fresh.
Dave Unmacht, Senior Risk Specialist at ABR Employment Services, closely monitors and updates ABR staff on safe workplace operations. As your manufacturing workforce solutions partner, we have a dual responsibility to ensure the health and safety of all worksite employees, temporary and permanent staff alike. If you have any questions, please contact your ABR Representative.