This booklet contains advice on how to report and handle impairment at work. Please refer to the OSH Answers publication Impairment at Work - Policy and Recognition for further details. Employers should think about whether there is a risk to the employee's safety or the safety of others if impairment is suspected. For instance, if someone is intoxicated, can they safely execute the job or task (such as driving, operating machinery, or using sharp objects)? Does it affect judgment or cognitive function? Employees and supervisors will receive education and training to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of impairment, just like with any danger, as part of their education and training. Anyone with concerns about someone else's impairment or their own inability to perform their job safely should speak with their supervisor or the designated individual (s). The complaint will then be addressed by any supervisor or delegate who received the report.
What sort of tool might be used to report suspected impairments?
Here is a sample tool. Make sure to adjust this tool to your workplace's requirements. Reporting should be done based on observation; do not, for instance, assume that drug addiction is the root of the impairment. A warning that there are concerns about a person's capacity to operate safely or not damage the health and safety of others is given when impairment is reported as a hazard. One phase in the inquiry process is reporting. Reporting Suspected Impairment: Example Tool A Toolkit to Address Problematic Substance Use that Impacts the Workplace, with permission. Council on Addiction in Atlantic Canada (ACCA). Unknown date
What should one do if they detect impairment?
It is crucial that action be done whenever a manager or coworker notices an employee exhibiting signs of impairment (regardless of the cause), whether through a suspected impairment report or direct observation. Among the actions to take are, but are not limited to: To discuss the employee's behavior, have a private conversation with them. Call 9-1-1 or proceed to the emergency room of the closest hospital if the person is in danger and needs help right away. As a witness, request the presence of another supervisor or designated person. Eliminate any stigma associated with substance use. Mention that the issue at hand is both their own and others' safety. Inform the employee of your worries for their safety and ask them to clarify the situation. Discuss possibilities based on the employee's reaction, if appropriate and possible. As stated in your organization's program, follow the instructions. In some circumstances, it can be necessary to instruct the employee to cease working or to assign them non-safety-sensitive tasks. Notify the union representative or senior management, as appropriate. Know what resources and supports are available (such as Employee Assistance Programs or organizations in the neighborhood), and assist staff members in seeking treatment as needed. Reassure the employee that using the support programs is optional and confidential, and encourage access to them. Call a taxi if necessary, or arrange for an employee to be driven home. If you suspect intoxication, don't let them operate a vehicle. If disciplinary action is necessary, adhere to your organization's progressive discipline procedures. Follow the accommodations procedures if necessary. An incident report should accompany every talk. The report should detail the circumstances leading up to the occurrence, the employee's risky work habits, the issues that were discussed with them, the notification of management and union representatives, a record of all the steps taken, and any advice given to the employee. Recall that it is not the responsibility of the company or the supervisor to diagnose an employee or to determine whether they are disabled. Changes in an employee's attendance, performance, or behavior can be seen by an employer. They can start a conversation about the problem(s) as it relates to the job and go over potential fixes. It could be necessary for the employer and employee to have the conversation more than once. Keep track of all topics. Support others and demonstrate empathy rather than sympathy. Concentrate on finding answers, but if disciplinary action is required, it is crucial to carry it out.
What does ""fit for work"" mean?
An employer's main concern is whether an employee can perform their duties safely. This idea, often known as ""fitness for work,"" refers to the capacity to carry out tasks in a safe and appropriate manner. Fit for work typically refers to a specific time frame, like that assignment or that day. Numerous circumstances, such as exhaustion, alcohol or other substance usage, mental health, or physical fitness, may warrant the use of this measurement. Options available if a worker is deemed unsuitable for work include: Identify the situation. Analyze whether your work obligations may be influencing your perceptions. Plan a medical evaluation if necessary. Note: While fit for work is used for a time period or task, there may also be a process called “fit to work ” which often refers to a process involving a medical assessment done when an employer wishes to be sure a worker can safely do a specific job or task. Fit to work assessments are most often done to determine medical fitness after an illness or injury.
How can concerns about impairment and safety be stated?
The supervisor or a delegated person should have a conversation with any individual who is suspected of being impaired at work. It is best to explore the situation and gather information before coming o conclusions. Stating the concerns should be done in an unbiased and factual manner. Do not place blame or make assumptions. Express the concerns by using statements such as: We would like to talk to you as we have noticed the following actions or behaviours lately. We are concerned for your safety and that you or someone else may get hurt. It was reported that you were almost involved in an incident. Can we discuss what happened leading to this event? You don't seem yourself today and we are concerned. Can we talk? Are you okay? For your safety and the safety of others, we would like to discuss... Be clear that the intent is to maintain a safe working environment or that the organization is concerned for their well-being. Be prepared to listen to the individual. Do not make assumptions about the cause of the issue. Identify any consequences if the issue continues and what steps must be taken. Discuss and outline what each party will do and when to improve the issue. Document this discussion. If necessary, determine a time to meet again when the employee is not showing signs of impairment so there can be a meaningful discussion
What is an example of how to document a suspected impairment incident?
Other steps a workplace can take include to: Address the uncertainty to report concerns about others or self-disclosure Address views such as stigma, discrimination, or shame Encourage and support health and overall wellness (including stress management, healthy eating, and exercise) Encourage early identification, including education on how to recognize signs and symptoms Communicate what supports are available to workers, including resources available from the employer or community such as intervention and counselling Help the individual find access to support and care (e.g., provide flexible work arrangements, time to attend appointments, possible benefits or financial support, etc.). Be flexible – allow the individual to work in the location that provides the greater support (e.g., at home or at the workplace)
What other steps can an organization take?
Every discussion should be documented by an incident response report. The report should include the events that happened before the incident, identification of the employee's unsafe work practices, the matters discussed with the employee (while maintaining confidentiality), that management and union representatives were notified if applicable, a list of all actions taken, and any recommendations made to the employee. A sample tool may be as follows. Be sure to customize this tool to suit your workplace needs. Sample Tool – Responding to Suspected Impairment Employee Name: Date: Supervisor Name: Observer Name: Incidient or Concern Details Action Note: If there is concern employee may be or may become violent or threatening, or may be in need of medical assistance, call security, police, or 911. Observations Concerns regarding safety, health, or other work-related issues Details from discussion with employee Discussion of available services, if applicable Safe arrangements (driven by/taxi, other work assigned, etc.) Next steps / Return to work process Notifications made to: Signatures Employee: Date: Supervisor: Date: Observer: Date:"""