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How do you ensure your employees are fit for duty and not jeopardizing the health and safety of your team?
Your responsibility as a supervisor is to make sure your team is fit for duty. When we say “fit for duty”, we mean making sure employees are able to perform the job tasks required without the influence of drugs or alcohol. It also includes making sure they are well-rested, so they are not causing themselves and other people potential injury. In summary, you need to ensure your team is safe to work.
Step one is to observe. Under the observation banner, you would be watching the employees; how they are acting and behaving. You are looking for areas where they may not be able to mount the equipment the way they are supposed to; or they are walking funny or stumbling. It might be that their speech is somewhat slurred, or they are more irritable than usual. This could include something you observe as the supervisor or it could be something one of the other employees brings to your attention. It could also be a third party, like a supplier or a customer, who brings it to your attention.
Step two is to dig for more information. No matter how you come to know the information, you now have a responsibility to dig a little further. When you do that, you are going to be dealing with an area called “reasonable suspicion”. It means you have reason to believe the employee may not be fit for duty. This will require a conversation with them and in that conversation, you will be looking for information. For example, was the crew all out drinking and partying heavily the night before and is the person clearly hungover and unable to perform their job tasks? If your suspicions are justified, you have an absolute responsibility to not allow that person to perform work that day.
Finally, the third step is to offer resources and manage performance. Often, your company will have an employee assistance program (EAP). If it is a substance abuse issue, you can refer the person to the EAP or to community resources you know are available that can help them. Most companies realize they have a duty and responsibility to help people be more successful on the job from a health and safety standpoint.
There is the performance management piece of dealing with the issue as well. This means you may have to administer progressive discipline.
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