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must (a) immediately provide escorted access to an NRC employee who appears to be unfit for duty and who is denied unescorted access and (b) must immediately call the appropriate NRC Regional Administrator after providing access. A corresponding provision has been added for employees of other Federal, State and local government agencies. These provisions should ensure, for instance, that an NRC or State inspector is not delayed in the execution of his or her Juties and, simultaneously, ensure that the NRC or a corresponding agency is immediately aware that an employee appears unfit for duty.
Third, the rule has been limited to persons with access to "vital" rather than "protected" areas because these are the areas where serious damage may be caused to public health and safety. It should be noted with respect to the screening of persons entering vital areas that the rule applies to persons in those areas; it does not prescribe where they can or must be screened and it does not forbid licensees from screening them at the boundaries of protected areas (which encompass vital areas). Thus, if a licensee finds it more convenient to screen persons at the boundary of a protected area than at the boundary of a vital area, the rule does not forbid it from doing so. It also should be noted that if, for example, an NRC resident inspector's office were inside a protected area, and a licensee were to elect to screen persons at the boundary of the protected area, and if it appeared that the inspector was unfit for duty, the licensee would have to provide an escort to make certain that the inspector does not enter a vital area unescorted.
Fourth, the requirement that records of written procedures be kept for the life of the plant has been eliminated, since the rule requires that the licensee procedures be in written form.
Fifth, the word "temporary", modifying the term "physical impairments" in the proposed rule, was eliminated as unnecessary. Mental and physical impairments, whether temporary or permanent, may or may not preclude a person from being fit for duty. Persons should be considered unfit for duty if their f-culties are affected in a way contrary to safety by substances such as alcohol or other drugs. Additionally, the phrase "unfit for duty because of other mental or physical impairments ..." is included in the rule, in order to require that licensees consider the effects of other factors such as fatigue, streas, illness, and physical impairments when determining an indivudual's fitness for duty.
Sixth, the rule's implementation date has been extended to 9 months after it becomes effective or by the date of issuance of an operating license, whichever is later; and a provision has been added allowing extensions of time for good cause. NRC estimates that the burden on a ‘licensee to develop written procedures required by the rule will be approximately 1,200 person-hours over a 9-month period if no fitness for duty program currently exists at its facility. The 9-month development period is an estimate based on discussions with fitness for duty program personnel in government and private industry. It matches the 9-month implementation period for the rule.
Finally, as stated above, the Commission does not want to be too prescriptive. It believes that it is more appropriate to promulgate a broadly worded rule that allows licensees to develop specific standards and criteria for their fitness for duty programs, rather than to specify these for them. Thus, each licensee should establish specific procedures and techniques for determining fitness for duty (e.g., breath testers, psychological tests, and so on), taking into consideration circumstances unique to its facility. Written procedures developed by licensees would probably include the following: (1) a statement of responsibilities of the program coordinator, managers, supervisors, and employees who come in contact with persons with access to vital areas; (2) an observation procedure; (3) a procedure (diagnosis, referral, return to duty) for assisting individuals who meet the criteria for alcohol/drug abuse or emotional instability; (4) an administrative procedure for processing individuals who refuse assistance and/or who wish to exercise their appeal rights; and (5) training provisions for all personnel and management to acquaint them with the licensee's fitness for duty procedures. The Commission encourages use of these five criteria and welcomes the formation of an industry task force, staffed by representatives from the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INP0), Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and the utilities, that has developed a set of standard guidelines for licensees to use in responding to this rule. The Commission will use these guidelines, among other things, in reviewing a licensee's program.
EEIGuidetoeffective Drug and Alcohol
Edison Electric Institute Industrial Relations Division
- I. Introduction
EEI recognizes the necessity for programs to combat the growing use of alcohol and drugs both on and of the job in the United States. Our industry's concern for the safety and productivity of its employees and consumers is reflected by this book. Testimony to the sophistication of the industry's current human resource prograri: The EEI Cuide to Effective Drug Policy and Program Development is designed to assist companies in developing their own alcohol and drug policies or programs if such programs do not currently exist or might benefit from expansion.