Some 52% of employers said impairment is decreasing the safety of their workforce, according to a recent survey by the National Safety Council (NSC), which has prompted the NSC to create a new one-hour e-learning course for supervisors and safety professionals.
Fleet operators may want to consider adding the course to their safety program. Designed to help supervisors better recognize and respond to all forms of impairment, the course teaches a comprehensive approach to addressing the problem of impairment in the workplace.
Impairment is due to many factors. For example, 90% of employers surveyed said they are concerned about alcohol, illicit opioids, mental health disorders, chronic stress, fatigue, and illicit prescription opioids in their work settings.
Impairment from any of those causes can delay thinking and reaction time — an especially significant concern for those working behind the wheel. For example, in 2019 alone, 10,142 people lost their lives in drunk driving crashes and nearly 700 died in drowsy-driving-related collisions.
Impairment can also increase workplace injuries and errors, lead to higher workers’ compensation costs, and increase absenteeism and distraction on the job.
A majority of survey respondents — 77% — view impairment as an important consideration when determining an employee's fitness for duty and 68% view impairment as a justifiable reason to fire an employee.
Some of the topics covered in the NSC one-hour course include: Recognizing and responding to impairment, supervisor responsibilities, common causes of impairment, common signs and symptoms, six steps to respond to potential impairment, human resources involvement, and laws and regulations.
The NSC strongly recommends that workplaces have impairment policies in place before prompting supervisors or other staff to take this training. Examples of these policies include reasonable cause/suspicion, drug-free workplace, fatigue risk management, and incident reporting, to name a few.
Fleet operators and safety professionals can register for the training here.