Hidden Risks: Impairment at Work

Impairment is often a hidden risk that prevents workers from being at their best and able to perform safely. On the roadway and at work, impairment can kill. It also impacts businesses' 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 NSC employer survey. More than half said impairment is decreasing the safety of their workforce.

Check out this infographic for more survey findings.

NSC is calling on employers to take a broad approach to addressing workplace impairment. Specifically, NSC urges that employer policies and procedures define workplace impairment as anything that could impede one's ability to function normally or safely – from chemical substances, such as alcohol, opioids or cannabis, to physical factors like fatigue, as well as mental distress and social factors like stress. Most employers surveyed – 93% – agree with this broader description.

Workplace Impacts, Innovations in Response to COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic raged across the U.S., employers and employees faced challenges beyond just the virus. According to recent data, one in four employees shows signs of PTSD, and many adults report increases in alcohol consumption or substance use compared to pre-pandemic. Most concerning, in 2021, more than 107,000 people died from a drug overdose, the most ever in a year.

These issues brought enormous risks to American workplaces, but many employers took action to keep their employees safe. The new NSC COVID-19 Impact & Innovation Member Survey Report highlights how employers were affected by the pandemic and how their responses can inform holistic approaches to traditional workplace health and safety concerns.

Download the full report, or learn about key findings in these brief research snapshots:

● Employee Assistance Programs
● Innovation
● Substance Use and Mental Health

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