Impairment - National Safety Council
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Save Lives by Addressing Impairment

Impairment is often a hidden risk that prevents someone from being at their best and able to perform safely. On the roadway and at work, impairment can kill. Impairment negatively affects safety in both seen and unseen ways, including impacting the business bottom line.

Multiple recent reports indicate spikes in opioid overdoses and ongoing concerns about mental distress or substance use disorders related to COVID-19. As a result, employers are finding themselves with an expanding list of issues that are threatening the health and wellbeing of their employees. In fact, 90% of employers say they are concerned about alcohol, opioids, mental health disorders and chronic stress in their workplaces, according to a recent employer survey conducted by the National Safety Council. More than half said impairment is decreasing the safety of their workforce. Check out this infographic for more survey findings.

There are a variety of ways workers and drivers may be impaired. NSC is calling on employers to take a broader approach to addressing workplace impairment. Specifically, NSC urges that employer policies and procedures outline workplace impairment as anything that could impede one's ability to function normally or safely as a result of a number of factors – from chemical substances, such as alcohol, opioids or cannabis, to physical factors like fatigue, as well as experiencing mental distress and social factors like stress. The majority of employers – 93% – surveyed agree with this broader description.

Resources to Address Impairment

Employers must consider all forms of impairment when determining whether an individual is fit to work or drive safely. The following NSC resources can help employers create a workplace free from impairment, with policies, procedures and materials designed to support employee health and prioritize safety.

Impairment Recognition and Response Training for Supervisors
Provides the foundation for recognizing impairment and a framework for responding to it so supervisors can move their workplace in a safer direction.
Chemical Substances
Learn how substance use impacts your workforce.
Get the free Opioids at Work Employer Toolkit.
Cannabis at Work
Learn more about the risks of cannabis in the workplace.
Warn Me Labels
Order free labels and return envelopes for prescription opioids.
Workplace Drug Use
Learn how employers can make a difference and help keep workers safe.
Overdose Awareness Day
Make a difference during this global event, held annually on Aug. 31.
Physical Factors
Learn the cost of fatigue on your bottom line.
Get the free Fatigue at Work Employer Toolkit.
Mental Health and Social Factors
See how you can promote employee mental health and wellbeing.
Help prevent impairment-related injuries. Make a difference today.

Costs of Mental Distress in the Workplace
Learn how mental distress impacts your workforce.

Additional Resources
Log in for member-exclusive impairment tools: posters, safety talks, checklists & more.
Over 10,000 lives are lost annually to impaired driving crashes.