Some of these problems can cause dissatisfaction among coworkers. Because substance abuse is a problem affecting all persons regardless of gender, class, age, or race, employees and supervisors must learn how to recognize some of the signs of possible problems. Changes in employee behavior, moodiness, social problems, and poor performance can all indicate that a substance abuse problem is present. Because of the significant safety hazards that can occur as the result of substance abuse patters, organizations have the right to test employees for drug use. According to the Substance Abuse clauses of the Americans with Disability Act, drug users cannot be classified as individuals with handicaps and therefore cannot invoke protection under the law if they feel discriminated against, unless the person is no longer using drugs or if the drugs are prescribed by a physician. Countermeasures to the substance abuse problem include education and awareness, identification of behavioral, social, or emotional problems, and an offering of support, assistance, and confidentiality.
Workplace stress is also a leading cause of health and safety hazards. Noise and environmental pollutants can be physical triggers of stress. Social issues such as friction between colleagues, or between employees and supervisors can also cause stress. Stress can be a product of the workers' personal or family life unrelated to the job. However, any time a worker reacts to stress, his or her behavior can impact the health and safety of others. Therefore, organizations should take care to minimize stressors and offer employees healthy outlets for their stress. Comfortable break rooms, access to healthy food, and minimizing pressure can go a long way toward reducing stress in the workplace, as can fostering good employee relations.
Training is integral to all jobs. Effective training can improve workplace safety, inspire confidence and create a harmonious, well-functioning organization. The key goal of any training program is some type of general or specific behavioral change. While upper-level management is responsible for implementing training programs, all employees are responsible for awareness and assessment. In some cases, non-training solutions are more appropriate than costly training. When structured training is appropriate, it will usually follow a five-phase process: assessment, design, materials acquisition, delivery of training, and testing or evaluation. There are two basic types of training: performance-based, and new employee training. Performance-based training is usually more specific and focused than training for new employees. Among the most common training methods include on-the-job training (OJT), group training methods, and individual methods. Each method has strengths and weaknesses and each has specific applications. on-the-job training is appropriate when there is enough time to thoroughly cover the training subjects; when all employees can be trained together; and when the individual administering the training is competent. One form of on-the-job training, called job instruction training (JIT) involves a structured four-part process: preparation, presentation, performance, and follow-up. Advantages to OJT and JIT are individualized and personalized one-on-one instruction and the practical, immediate application of skills acquisition. Drawbacks include the lack of uniformity in training, as each trainer will have quirks or idiosyncrasies he or she will pass on to trainees. Such quirks can eventually lead to conflict or even safety hazard. Group methods of training, such as conferences, brainstorming, lectures, and simulations, vary in their approach. While they do not offer the immediacy of OJT, they can provide more consistent and professional training. Individual training is beneficial when the employee prefers to work at his or her own pace. While effective in some situations, the optimal training program will incorporate elements of group and individual methods to maximize learning and behavioral change.
Formal health and safety audits are essential in ensuring compliance with local, state, federal, and international regulations; to establish benchmarks; and to investigate new or unknown health or safety hazards. Audits can help organizations avoid costly lawsuits or catastrophes and to develop up-to-date health and safety guidelines for future operations. The safety and well-being of the organization depends on thorough and regular auditing. The audit process usually involves preplanning, fieldwork, and follow-up and incorporates the following steps: understanding management systems such as background information on the company and knowledge about its facilities; assessing internal controls such as personnel procedures; gathering audit evidence through inquiry, observation, and formal testing; evaluating audit evidence, and reporting audit findings.