National Safety Council reports how disability detection technology is making workplaces safer

The report will help employers and policy makers to be better informed about the availability and reliability of IDT products in the market as well as implementation considerations

ITASCA, IL, August 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Workplace injury comes in many forms, and all present a safety concern. Chemical impairment, fatigue, medical conditions, mental distress, and other factors can pose fitness-for-work concerns as well as affect employee well-being, leaving employers in need of resources to identify and address the problem. Part of the solution: Impairment detection technology. As researched and described by the National Safety Council, IDT is a technology with the potential to screen for multiple forms of disability to aid in the assessment of fitness for work, and according to an NSC survey, a majority of responding employers are interested.

“Detecting when a worker is impaired is critical to the safety, health and well-being of an organization’s workforce,” said Jenny Burke, Vice President of the Impairment Practice at NSC. “When the survey results showed that 16% of employers surveyed are using IDT, it shows confidence in the technology while providing an opportunity to explore these technologies. The NSC did what it does best, and the results of this research make up this report, providing employers with the resource they need to make informed safety decisions regarding these detection technologies.”

in February 2021, the NSC became the first national organization to call on employers to consider much more than substance use when dealing with disabilities in the workplace and to outline in policies and procedures anything that may interfere with an individual’s ability to function normally or safely . This holistic approach includes a range of factors from chemical substances such as alcohol, opioids or cannabis, to physical factors such as fatigue, as well as mental distress and social factors such as stress, all of which are claimed to be detectable by several IDTs. included in the report.

Fifteen impairment technologies from 15 companies were eligible for inclusion in the analysis conducted by the NSC. Of the 15 IDTs analyzed:

  • Five out of 15 companies (33.3%) say their technology can detect all seven types of impairment discussed (alcohol, opioids, cannabis, other substances, fatigue, medical conditions and other forms of possible mental impairment, such as mental stress)
  • Eight companies (53.3%) reported the ability to detect at least five types of impairment
  • Two companies (13.3%) provided more specialized disability detection

In addition to IDT, managers themselves have the ability to recognize and respond to perceived impairment in the workplace and in October 2021, the NSC launched a program to equip supervisors, safety professionals and other leaders with the appropriate training to do so. The recent introduction of the Workplace Disability Prevention Act by Congressman Burgess Owens also highlights the importance of this approach, as the legislation authorizes an on-the-job training program through the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to help employers recognize, respond to, and prevent workplace injury while addressing heightened safety concerns.

The full findings of the new NSC report, as well as the IDT web tool, are available for free. To learn more about disability in the workplace, please visit: https://www.nsc.org/impairment.

For the National Security Council

The National Safety Council is America’s leading non-profit safety advocacy organization – and has been for more than 100 years. As a mission-driven organization, we work to eliminate the leading causes of preventable death and injury by focusing our efforts on workplace, road and disability. We create a culture of safety to keep people not only safer in the workplace, but also outside the workplace so they can live life to the fullest.

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SOURCE National Security Council

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