Impairment in the Workplace
What is Impairment?
The BC Public Service promotes a safe and healthy workplace that supports employee well-being. Impairment in the workplace can affect workplace health, safety and operations and can come from many different sources, including:
- Prescription drugs
- Medications and over the counter drugs
- Medical conditions
- Illicit drugs
In the BC Public Service, “fit for duty” is defined as:
“a physical, mental and emotional state which enables employees to perform their job tasks competently and continuously in a manner which does not compromise the integrity of the BC Public Service or create a safety hazard to themselves or others.”
All BC Public Service employees must be fit for duty at all times during work.
In accordance with the Standards of Conduct, employees cannot be impaired and must be fit for duty when they commence work and anytime during their work including returning from breaks.
Impairing substances or conditions affect individuals differently. Employees must be aware of how substances or conditions affect them specifically, including being aware of how long the effects of an impairing substance or condition may last for them, so they are not impaired while working. This includes ensuring that substances used during off work hours do not have any impairing effects while at work.
If you are a supervisor, you are expected to:
- Be knowledgeable about and comply with:
- Ensure employees are aware of and understand the Standards of Conduct, Human Resources Policy 04, and the Occupation Health and Safety Regulation
- Understand ‘fit for duty’ as it applies to your workplace and recognize the signs of impairment
- Have timely conversations with employees if they show signs of impairment and/or substance use dependency
- Take action when an employee reports impairment or you observe signs of impairment
- Be familiar with the resources and supports available to assist you
Promoting workplace health and safety is a shared responsibility.
To ensure everyone’s safety, all BC Public Service employees must:
- Read, understand and comply with the Standards of Conduct
- Read, understand and comply with BC Public Service Human Resources Policy 04 - Occupational Safety and Health (PDF, 216KB)
- Report if they may be impaired, or not fit for duty to their supervisor
- Report if they observe an employee who may not be fit for duty
If you have any questions about workplace impairment, talk with your supervisor.
Managers & Supervisors
- Impairment in the Workplace: Questions & Answers for Managers & Supervisors (PDF, 224KB)
- Supervisor's Guide to Recognizing & Managing Impairment in the Workplace (PDF, 376KB)