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The National Safety Council (NSC) describes worker impairment as “the hidden risk that prevents workers from being at their best and performing safely.” And what’s worse, disability at work can even result in death.
Everything from substance abuse to fatigue to medical issues can create workplace concerns for the overall well-being of employees. And business leaders are worried, too. According to a recent NSC survey, 90% of employers say they are “concerned about alcohol, opioids, mental health disorders, and chronic stress in their workplaces.”
But according to the security agency, there are new tools to consider to help companies better assess risk and address issues before they lead to negative outcomes.
One way is through the use of impairment detection technology, or IDT, which is characterized as any type of technology that can screen workers for multiple forms of impairments and assess their readiness for on-the-job activities. According to a recently released comprehensive report on IDTs, the NSC looks at the ways they are being implemented, determining their effectiveness and acknowledging barriers such as worker acceptance or concerns about test validity.
In the end, NSC says deficiency detection is playing a role in making workplaces safer. They note that many of the surveyed companies using IDT were primarily looking for fatigue issues and emphasize that this multitude of factors play a role in safe workability.
Rather than relying on supervisors to assess workers based on their own instincts and perceptions, the NSC report adds, “safety technologies can provide a more objective measure to help employers identify and address deficiencies.” in the workplace”.
According to data published in the NSC report, nearly one-fifth of Americans are living with a mental illness and more than 43% are sleep deprived. Says Jenny Burke, vice president of disability practice at NSC, “Detecting when a worker is disabled is critical to the safety, health and well-being of an organization’s workforce.”
Image credit: TIU