November 17, 2020 | Barb Carr

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Issues Have Doubled During the Pandemic

EHSToday recently published an article entitled, “How to Help Employees with Mental Health Issues.” It highlighted how worries about how “lockdowns, unemployment and anxiety over the threat of your vulnerable loved ones or you contracting the Coronavirus with unknown consequences” are fueling a significant jump in mental health problems. The article cited the CDC announcing that numbers of people struggling with mental health and substance abuse have doubled what they were pre-pandemic. [Read full article.]

Upset, fatigue and substance abuse factors can all weigh heavily on a worker’s ability to follow work direction. It’s clear that many safety issues are due to human error, and many of those errors are related to these three factors. Managers who are equipped to proactively and thoughtfully support workers through mental health issues make huge contributions to safety in the workplace.

Are you disciplining employees for mistakes made due to mental health issues?

Disciplining employees for mistakes made due to mental health issues only exacerbate the problems. Blame causes us to react with even more emotion, and won’t fix the underlying causes. Instead, ask these three questions:

  1. Do your supervisors know how to identify and respond to mental health issues exhibited by workers?
  2. Are workers encouraged to self-report mental health issues that distract them from performing critical tasks?
  3. If self-reporting is encouraged, are you taking steps to reward (not punish or discriminate against) the worker for doing so?

The TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis System can help you achieve world-class performance by finding and fixing problems that lead to worker errors caused by stress, fatigue and substance abuse. We can help you develop a roadmap for a world-class improvement program using our advanced root cause analysis. Our 15-step human performance checklist covers all the important factors that you need to consider. Visit our Executive Portal to learn more and request a free executive briefing today.

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