Get them talking What do you do when you suspect someone on your crew is “under-the-influence” or not “fit for duty”?
Keep them talking Have you ever been around when showed up to work drunk? What happened? What are some clues – how would you know if someone was under the influence? What are some reasons other than alcohol or drugs that might make someone unfit for duty? How would you approach them?  What would you do or say?  Are there things you definitely wouldn’t do? What if the person said, “Hey, cut me some slack.  I’m a bit fuzzy, but I’ll stay off the man-lift… I’ll be fine as soon as I get some coffee in me.” Or, what if someone said, “No, I haven’t been drinking… I did take some cold medicine though… but I’m fine.” Who would you call for backup and support?
Points to consider Making sure people are fit for duty is your responsibility.  If someone poses a danger to others or themselves, you must take action. If you suspect someone is under the influence, pull them aside.  Talk to them privately. Ask questions and express concern, but do not accuse them of being drunk / high / stoned.
  • How are you feeling?  Big night last night?  You seem a bit off this morning… is something going on?   
  • I’m worried about you… I’d hate for something to happen to you… hang back this morning, let’s talk some more.
Call for backup: you don’t have to handle this alone!   Call your boss, or HR, or a safety pro and ask them to come out and see you. Take notes: it’s important to record what you saw and heard that made you worried (“she was slurring her words”, “I smelled weed”, “his eyes were red and unfocused”), what you said and what you did.  If something goes wrong, good notes will be a life-saver!
Learn more Fitness for duty symptoms check list (Sample) Fitness for duty interview record