Nobody wants to be recognized as Scrooge around the holidays. Yet, we know the hustle and bustle of the season can lead to stress and anxiety.
At work, colleagues are wrapping up projects due by the end of the year. At home, they’re planning for family gatherings, keeping a list and checking it twice. Or, maybe they’re preparing for a quieter holiday and remembering more festive times, which also can lead to stress and feelings of loneliness.
All of these feelings can stir people to look for relief or yearn for comfort. Studies indicate some turn to alcohol and other drugs as coping mechanisms, including marijuana and opioids, and that overdose incidents spike due to mental distress. Impairment is often a hidden risk that prevents someone from being his or her best self. This is true whether they are at work, behind the wheel or playing host to relatives, particularly the ones they haven’t seen recently or that always seem to touch a nerve.
In a survey conducted by the National Safety Council, more than half of employers said impairment is decreasing the safety of their workforce. This is a good time to review and update your workplace policies and procedures. Be sure to address factors outlined in this NSC infographic:
- Chemical substances, such as alcohol
- Physical factors, such as fatigue
- Social factors, such as stress
- Mental distress
The National Safety Council offers resources that can help employers create a workplace free of impairment, with policies, procedures and materials designed to support employee health and prioritize safety. Check them out here.
In addition, we would like to invite you to make plans to attend one of our upcoming free online training sessions. Click on these links to register:
- Jan. 12: Opioids and CNS Depressants/Stimulants: A DITTE Dive
- Jan. 25: Transportation Safety: Changing Norms and Decreasing Risk
- Feb. 10: Coaching the Coach
Take what you learn back to your location. In the meantime, you can act now to educate coworkers, friends and family about impairment risks. Here are three ways you can share timely safety reminders in the days leading up to the holiday break:
- Keep calm as you drive. If you’re frustrated by traffic congestion, remember your mother’s advice: Count to 10. Download, print and display this safety poster: Have a Tailgater? Move Over, Let the Driver Pass.
- Understand the warning signs of being too tired to drive. Play this one-minute video during your next team meeting. Then, use our free Traffic Safety Huddle sheet to lead a short discussion on drowsy driving.
- How much is too much? Impairment begins with the first drink. Your gender, body weight and the number of drinks you’ve consumed and the amount of food you’ve eaten affect your body’s ability to handle alcohol. Share this free infographic: Driving While Intoxicated.
You don’t have to be haunted by ghosts to honor the spirit of the safety season – or to keep it all year long.
– Cindy Leonard is a senior program manager with the National Safety Council