FIT FOR DUTY – HOW IT IMPACTS EMPLOYEE AND EMPLOYERS

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July Quarterly Update 

Greg Britton, General Manager, Training Sector

Yardstick Training provides safety solutions to multiple industries and millions of learners around the world.  Within all of these industries there are thousands of job specific terms, abbreviations and acronyms.  I’m sure we have all had to do an internet search at some point in our careers to identify what exactly a co-workers, clients or contractor has made reference towards. 

Some are more common than others and are easily transferrable between industries and sectors such as OH&S, PPE, OSHA, JSA, and SOP.  When in conversation with safety professionals and industry leaders, one safety term that always seems to be of lengthy discussion and debate is the term “Fit for Duty (FFD)”.  In many cases, OH&S acts, regulations and codes make no reference or definition of fit for duty and/or fit for work based on the complexity and confusion surrounding this term and the responsibilities companies have related to this term.   

Part of the confusion results from the fact that many companies take this term to mean only programs and policies related to drug and alcohol screening or testing, physical performance assessments and safety sensitive job conditions. The proper definition related to Fit for Duty is; a condition the individual exhibits related to their physical, mentaland emotionalstate while performing job duties, optimized for safety and performance based on applied human factor principles.   

Some of the critical components related to Fit for Duty programs are items such as:

Physical State:

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Well rested (shift scheduling, rest periods, fatigue assessments)
  • Unimpaired by any substance (prescription and non-prescription use and disclosure)
  • Uninjured (reporting of injuries, near misses and pre-existing physical conditions)
  • Healthy (overall personal health, diet, allergies/illness)

Mental State:

  • Alert & Aware
  • Sound mind
  • Good decision-making skills
  • Situational awareness
  • Ability to problem solve

Emotional State:

  • Focused on the task at hand
  • Good communication skills
  • Undistracted by personal issues

Some examples of key components that many organizations fail to include in the evaluation of Fit for Duty programs are:

  • Safety Sensitive Worker classification, defined as any job or work tasks that if not preformed safely would risk injury to the individual, co-workers or the general public or damage to the environment or property
  • Working at height risk
  • Hot work, work under permits and ground disturbance
  • Driving (including to and from work, meetings, business travel)
  • Operating equipment (including operations and maintenance)
  • Hazardous material handling
  • Rights and responsibilities of employee and employers
  • Mental health awareness programs and training
  • Monitoring workers shift schedules, tasks and competencies to address potential fatigue
  • Alcohol and drug testing procedures and policies (pre-access/post-incident/random)
  • Substance support programs, policies and procedures to support individuals with potential addictions, dependencies or adverse effects impacting an ability to perform work duties

Yardstick Training has a wide range of safety solutions to help your organization implement Fit for Duty programs.  We have developed industry leading e-learning, classroom training and consulting services related to the physical, mental and emotional categories.  Contact us to learn more about implementing a Fit for Duty program at workplace.

Call us at 1-800-465-3366 or at sales@danatec.com.

Essential courses to consider for your program:

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