The 09:00pm news a while back became the best Kenya had to offer in comedy as a Kitui based Police Prosecutor was caught on camera confidently reporting to work while utterly, indefensibly, and hopelessly drunk. The inebriated Inspector of Police, Joseph Kiarie, provided no end of entertainment as he was questioned by area residents and media personnel, assuring them that he had been reporting to work under the influence of something potent for years with no problem. Assuring us all that he was unfazed by the protests against his condition, Mr Kiarie stated that being “brown and handsome” was part of his charm, asserting that his work did not suffer as he was “very performing”. We’ll excuse you as you momentarily abandon this article to find the YouTube video of the spectacle that doubtless exists thanks to the valiant efforts of Kenyans online.
For most viewers, the whole incident was fodder for office gossip for the next morning; humor not shared by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Kiriako Tobiko, who has called Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo to sack the errant prosecutor, and with good reason. Now, with the recent deaths and permanent damage revelers across the country have suffered at the hands of homemade brews, what was once a drama that could be laughed at from afar has become a national tragedy. Employers must be wary of hires that report to work having indulged in one glass too many, a trend that supply chain managers must be especially keen to spot and uproot.
Supply chain managers in charge of warehouses are obligated to keep their eyes open for signs of intoxication in their employees as it is often a matter of life and death. Warehouse workers operating heavy machinery such as cranes, compactors for waste materials and other such motorized equipment could easily injure themselves or other employees. A terrifying worst case scenario in this instance would likely result in death. Working under the influence of alcohol in this case would not just cause a tragic loss of human life, it also leaves the company vulnerable to lawsuits from 3rd parties injured by errant employees, which can result in great financial losses for the firm.
The risks increase where employees are directly involved in deliveries, and therefore, operating vehicles such as trucks or delivery vans. The dangers of drinking and driving have been well chronicled in Kenya, with lifelong handicaps, deaths and other injuries now spread to the general population by logistics drivers opting to enjoy “one for the road’ before freighting assigned cargo.
On the less life-threatening end of the spectrum, logistics managers should be keen to note white collar employees that may seem to be operating under the influence of questionable substances. Employees interacting with company records, including inventory, financial records, route plans and other such sensitive information are more likely to make clerical errors while inebriated. These seemingly innocent errors can snowball into serious issues in the future e.g. where incorrect records means the company does not fully pay taxes, resulting in legal action being taken to recover amounts owed, up to and include repossession of company assets.
Alcoholism has many far reaching implications for logistics employees and the work force in general, including an impaired ability to carry out duties as required. This pales in comparison to the chronic health issues that usually accompany addiction to alcohol, which is guaranteed situation where one drinks so heavily they cannot postpone it to after work. Liver failure, cognitive difficulties among many other complications brought about by alcoholism generally mean a lifetime of medical difficulties for the individual and a strain on company insurance along the way.
Our lesson as the logistics industry from Mr Kiarie? Alcohol and work do not mix, and will often end in more tragic and serious consequences than a humorous interview on the local news. Do have a sober week, won’t you?