"Identifying & Responding to Unsafe Behaviors"


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What does take to create and maintain a safe work environment? At a minimum, these suggestions must be heeded in order for management to be able to sleep at night!

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"Identifying & Responding to Unsafe Behaviors"

  1. 1. Presented by Margie Roop, LPCC-S; CEAP; SAP Regional Director LifeServices EAP 1-800-822-4847
  2. 2. Margie Roop-Qualifications:  Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor- Supervisory endorsement  Certified Employee Assistance Professional  Substance Abuse Professional (DOT)  33 years in the Mental Health field  Masters Degree: Guidance & Counseling  In-patient & Out-patient experience with BOTH mental health & chemical dependency clients.
  3. 3. Are you AWARE? Do you CARE? Do you DARE? •If not, let’s roll up our sleeves & get down to business! •Let’s make our workplace safer. •Let’s make our workplace more enjoyable!
  4. 4. Are you AWARE?  Employee actions which present as UNSAFE  AND, which COULD cause harm to self or others  Policy & Procedure violations  Illegal Activities
  5. 5. Would you know it if you saw it? You had BETTER! THIS IS YOUR JOB!  Employees & rest of company is counting on you.  YOU are the eyes & ears of the organization at any given time.  As a supervisor, this IS what you signed on for!  You want to avoid a harmful outcome.  You want to avoid a lawsuit.
  6. 6. Do you CARE? Of course you do! Why wouldn’t I?  You are a supervisor because you care about leading others and advancing the best interests of the company!  You care about people.  You care about safety.  You care about company success.
  7. 7. But, do you DARE?:  Confront the employee with such behaviors?  Confront employees to violate Policies & Procedures ?  Follow-through when such behavior is reported to you by other employees?
  8. 8. What’s holding you back? Fear? Fear?  Admit it  Work on it  See your EAP for it  Sign up for more training  Consult with colleagues  Again, this is what you signed up for!  Failure could be dramatic & should not be an option
  9. 9. OK, so, what AM I looking for? •Behaviors •Statements •Physical signs & symptoms •Work clothes •Work equipment •Work station •Objects
  10. 10. Behaviors  Agitation; outbursts; throwing /hitting objects  Inconsolable crying  Disorientation to person, place & time  Repeated forgetfulness  Sleeping on the job; constant fatigue  Consumption, distribution, selling, concealment of prohibitive substances and/or paraphernalia  Inappropriate laughter towards self ; seems to be responding to internal stimuli  Possession or suspected possession of firearms and/or ammunition  All safety violations  Staggering, stumbling, tripping, knocking into things
  11. 11. Behaviors-continued:  Nervous; jittery; quick, over-animated movements.  Slowed, lethargic, or deliberate (overly careful) movements.  Behaviors that make no sense for the job at hand (repeats a process unnecessarily, or other incorrect protocols.)
  12. 12. Statements: What’s wrong with that? He said: what?  To kill self or others  Threatening : “He’ll be sorry he told my supervisor about...”; “Wait ‘til I see him after work.”; “This company will pay…”, etc…  Despondency: “There’s no hope for me”; “I just as soon be gone from this world”  Disorientation: “I hear voices”; “I see things that others don’t”; “ I don’t know where I am, what day is it, why am I here?”
  13. 13. Statements-continued  Physical or emotional condition: “My medicine makes me feel suicidal”; “My doctor says I only have a few weeks to live”; I’m on a pain pill for my….”; “I took some of my wife’s pills for…”; “I got so trashed last night” (this could be a case for reasonable suspicion testing……!)  Rambling; mumbling; repetitive, and/or incoherent.  Extreme “Black & White” viewpoints; stances on religious & ethnic groups, or opposite sex.
  14. 14. Physical signs & symptoms He looked like what? She smelled like what?  Unusual cuts on forearms and/or legs  Smell of alcohol  Pinpoint or dilated pupils  Slurring words  Black eyes  Smacking mouth; tacky sound  Powder residue on face or clothing (unrelated to work)  Drooling  Darting, nervous eyes  Sweating in cooler temperatures  Twitching (when they normally do not)  Pale and/or waxy appearance to face  Tremulousness of hands, head, or arms.
  15. 15. Work Clothing She wore what? What color was it?  Wearing clothing items not normally associated with work or their character  That which is deemed unsafe, inappropriate for the job, work station, and/or project at hand.  Soiled clothing  Obvious bodily fluids on clothes
  16. 16. Work Station  Unkempt  Devoid of appropriate equipment for the task  Left in unsafe condition  Abandoned  Presence of prohibitive substances (includes firearms) and/or paraphernalia
  17. 17. Work Equipment He did what with what? She threw what?  Strange set-up of work equipment  Pattern of equipment missing, broken, not used for intended purpose  Equipment “loaned out” against protocols  Brings in non-approved work tools
  18. 18. Objects * What IS this item? * Does it belong at work station? * Who does it belong to? * Suspicious appearance, size, shape or smell? *Clearly a violation of company policy (prohibitive substance/firearm)? * Obstruction to a safe working environment?
  19. 19. Now, what do I do? •Use best judgment at the time of observation. •If you feel behaviors, statements, clothing, work station, equipment, or other items at work station need addressed, then get support of supervision NOW and go to the employee!
  20. 20. Safety First! •NEVER place self or others in harm’s way- leave the area if imminent danger and notify others NOW! •Yell: “EVERYBODY GET OUT NOW!” •If a person is INTENT, has the MEANS, and OPPORTUNITY, they WILL do harm to self or others!
  21. 21. Confidential, if possible! Safety is FIRST! But respond quickly!  Isolate person so as to not draw any unnecessary attention to the situation UNLESS you need assistance or witness, i.e., person refuses to stop engaging in safe behavior, refuses to shut off machine.
  22. 22. What do I say? • Is there an opportunity to talk with the person? Do so: ask the questions: • A. Are you OK? • B. Tell me why you (are dressed a certain way, look so tired, shouted at co-worker, etc..)? • C. Tell me more……keep the person talking in order to gather more observations based on what they say and how they say it.
  23. 23. Do a quick “30-second Look/see”  Observe the person’s face for telltale physical signs & symptoms  Smell any odors?  How are they speaking?  What are they saying?  How are they moving?  What are they holding?
  24. 24. More of a “Look/See”  Are they responsive to directives?  Are you needing to repeat directives?  Do they look confused, fatigued, drugged, “wired”, agitated, sad, crying, angry, sick, etc…?
  25. 25. Make a decision!  Make the determination if there is a need for substance abuse testing, ambulance (medical situation), or the police.  Follow-up on decision: take to testing facility, call police, and/or fire personnel!
  26. 26. Do Not: Don’t do it! Enflame the person!  Touch a person unless to defend yourself or others or prevent self or others from an unsafe act.  Overreact-will escalate the situation BUT you can be strongly directive if situation calls for it.  Ignore your observations or your company’s P & Ps!  Ignore employees’ reports of behaviors.  Dismiss behaviors as “Well, that’s just Mary…”
  27. 27. Consider: What if this happened in MY business? What would I do THEN?  Error on the side of safety- always!  Trust your gut-it is usually “right on!”  If you feel you might be over- reacting, then start by telling the employee just that , THEN tell them it’s because it’s YOUR JOB TO ASK!  Employees will be grateful you are noticing and responding.  It will show employees who are not following the rules that you DO NOT IGNORE situations!  Sends a message to all that the company cares about the safety of its employees.
  28. 28. What if no emergency?  If after investigation, the behaviors do not warrant: drug test, ambulance or police, consider what else would be appropriate.  Need for more training?  Need for a write-up?  Need for a management referral to the EAP?
  29. 29. To summarize: Be AWARE! You CARE! DARE to intervene! Not only is the company counting on you, but FAMILIES are too!
  30. 30. Closing Comments • Support one another as supervisors. • Ask questions of each other if concerned about certain employees. • Keep vigilant and as present as possible throughout ALL company plant locations. • If employees disclose personal problems to you, immediately refer them to your EAP-give them an EAP wallet card or brochure & follow-up with them! • Make sure EAP posters and literature are very present & available to all.
  31. 31. I wish you all the BEST! • Contact LifeServices EAP for more information about our comprehensive benefit for employees & management. •1-800-822-4847 or call Margie Roop • 330-329-3767 •mroop@lifeserviceseap. com •“Personal Service, Every Time!”