ARE YOUR EMPLOYEES FIT FOR DUTY?
One bad decision can have devastating effects. This my family knows only too well, as 20 years ago one young man’s bad decision after work left our brother and sister-in-law dead.Impaired driving, left parents’ heart-broken, robbed brothers and sisters of the chance to lean on each other, left future nieces and nephews without cousins and impacted this young man’s freedom for the next few years.Fit For Duty: Impairment Policy
We know that fatigue, alcohol and drugs, mental health and a variety of other stressors impact both worker performance and health and safety.As an employer, you have an overriding obligation to protect the health and safety of your teams by ensuring that all workers performing work are Fit for Duty. This type of policy is a comprehensive approach that employers can develop to co-ordinate health and safety efforts, as well as policies and guidelines to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for everyone.What Does Fit For Duty Imply?
“Fit for Duty” means that a Worker is able to safely and/or acceptably perform assigned duties without any limitations resulting from, but not limited to: the use or after-effects of illicit drugs, alcohol, and/or medications; the misuse of and/or failure to take prescribed medications;and/or extreme fatigue.Fit For Duty Definition:
A condition in which an employee’s physical, physiological and psychological state enables them to continuously perform assigned tasks safely. This definition is an umbrella strategy that includes: Physical requirements – physical demands analysis, vision,hearing, etc. Physiological conditions – fatigue, alcohol and drugs,workplace exposures, etc. Psychological condition – commitment, risk tolerance,emotional state, culture, etc.Fit For Duty: A Comprehensive Approach
Fit for Duty is a comprehensive approach where many individual pieces fit together to create the whole picture. There are four key elements that make up this approach:
- clear policies and guidelines
- workplace programs and services
- employee support
- shared responsibility
Clear Policies And Guidelines All employees should be clear about what the rules are and what is expected of them. Having a clear alcohol and drug policy is one element of a comprehensive fit for duty approach. Leaders also play a key role in policy implementation and are usually responsible for ensuring that employees adhere to workplace standards.Workplace Programs And Services
Individual programs and services contribute to an understanding and the effective administration of policies and support services offered to employees. Examples of these programs and services include
- supervisory training
- workplace health and wellness programs
- employee assistance program (EAP) or employee and family assistance program (EFAP)
- informal and formal peer support (this ensures confidentiality)
Education is usually effective, and it allows for an approach that is proactive and positive. Content usually focuses on what to door not do, as well as how to comply with the policies and guidelines of the workplace.Employee Support
Many of today’s workplaces focus more attention on supporting workers in recovery, as well as those who are returning to work after a leave. By focusing more on education and prevention, employers and organizations can increase an employee’s chance of success.Shared Responsibility
Employers and employees share responsibility for creating and sustaining a safe, healthy, respectful and productive workplace. Each employee contributes to the company’s commitment to fitness for work. Educating on how to identify and what steps to follow as a peer is a critical piece of ensuring that your team shares in this responsibility.
Substance Use and Addictions: Providing Understanding and Support
For an easy to understand, peer-focused Substance Use eLearning course, visit: Worksmartlivesmart.thinkific.com
Everyone has days when their ‘head just isn’t in the game’. It could be due to stress from inside or outside work. This is expected from time to time. However, if these days seem to happen more often than not for someone, that could be a sign of substance abuse.
Substance abuse is costly, resulting in reduced productivity and increased absenteeism, which may result in more health-related issues and short and long-term disability claims.
This interactive eLearning program contains three modules that move you towards insight and understanding around the issues of substance use and addictions so that you can provide much needed support and understanding.
“This was the best use of an hour of my time”
In under 60 minutes, you will:
- Recognize how substance abuse develops
- Identify the signs of substance abuse Improve comfort in supporting a co-worker who may be abusing substances
- Improve comfort in addressing substance abuse using a four-step action plan to holding a Supportive Conversation
- Determine actions that can be taken to support psychological health and safety in the workplace
ARE YOUR EMPLOYEES FIT FOR DUTY? (con’t)
A poster from R U Fit For Duty clearly outlines this responsibility. Impairment Awareness has two focuses:
- Have you had a full night’s sleep?
- Are you well rested?
- Are you in control of your emotions?
- Are you impaired by drugs or alcohol?
- Are you able to concentrate on tasks?
- Has something happened in your life that is occupying your mind?
- Have you had sufficient time from the last time you used an impairing substance?
- Are they stumbling a lot or clumsy?
- Have you noticed a physical limitation that could impact their ability to perform the task safely?
- Do they appear short-tempered, agitated, or otherwise emotionally unstable?
- Are they having difficulty concentrating or following instructions?
- Are they showing any signs of impairment?
If YES to these questions, stop and report it to a supervisor, manager or HR immediately.
For more on how to approach someone who you may suspect is impaired using the A-L-E-C model, visit: Worksmartlivesmart.thinkific.com Substance Use and Addictions: Providing Understanding and Support.
Finally, remember that diagnosing a substance use issue is not the role of the employer, the leader, or their peers. Leave the diagnosing to the experts. It is important to refer the person to a mental health professional. The employer’s role is to remove the stigma associated with substance use and to provide clear policies for detection, education, support,consequences, and return-to-work. This can be a delicate balance of the employer’s duty to provide a safe working environment and the respect for human rights, but a clear policy built on advice from an employment lawyer and human rights expert can help to ensure that your workplace is safe and healthy.
Want to learn more about Supportive Conversations and the ALEC model. Check out these on-line courses focused on understanding mental illness, depression, anxiety and substance abuse. Worksmartlivesmart.thinkific.com
If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!Additional Reading: