June is National Safety Month, sponsored by the National Safety Council (NSC). Each week explores a new safety topic–giving facts, advice, and recommendations on how to maximize your workplace safety. Week 2 encompasses June 12 - 18 and discusses Workplace Impairment.
Because impairment has been a workplace safety issue for many years, the dangers of substance use on the job has become common knowledge. However, mental distress, stress, and fatigue can also be a dangerous means of impairment. Due to the pandemic, employers have seen elevated levels of workplace impairment from both substance and mental health related factors like increased anxiety and depression. On a more extreme note, the pandemic has greatly worsened the United States’ overdose crisis. In 2021, there was a record estimated 107,000 overdose deaths that affected many families and employers alike.
The National Safety Council defined impairment as the inability to function normally or safely as a result of numerous factors. These factors include 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). A national employer survey on impairment conducted in 2020 found that over 90% of employers are concerned about alcohol, opioids, mental health disorders and chronic stress in their workplaces, indicating the prevalence of a lack of safety due to impairment. About 77% of employers view impairment as important in determining and employees working fitness, while only less than half of employers actually discuss non-substance related forms of impairment such as fatigue, mental health, and stress. Therefore, employers need to consider and include mental health factors in discussions of impairment and injury to increase their workplace safety.
To learn more about Workplace Impairment or National Safety Month, please visit: https://www.nsc.org/workplace/national-safety-month/nsm-public-materials?utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=COM%20828212&utm_content=.
DII is your partner in workplace safety. Our team of experts can work with you to understand how to teach your employees best safety practices in your workplace environment. Please contact your DII representative for more information. #NationalSafety #WorkplaceImpairment