Opioid Crisis: Injury Prevention

Seventy- five percent of United States employers have been affected from the opioid crisis, yet most are still unprepared according to Environmental Health and Safety Today.

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Opioid Crisis: Injury Prevention in the Workplace

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioids killed more than 42,000 people in the US in 2016. Workers in the construction industry are five to seven times more likely to die of an opioid overdose than workers in other professions due to the frequency of industry injury. Construction workers are most likely to get hurt on the job over any other profession. National Safety Council communicated the importance of injury preparedness. What if we change our perspective and effort to fixing the problem by preventing the injuries from happening in the first place? We then wouldn’t need to prescribe so many addictive prescriptions.

Injury Prevention - how do we prepare?

We prepare to prevent injuries by incorporating manageable programs:

In a recent study, NSC discovered these mind-blowing findings:

  1. Employers are more concerned about hiring qualified workers, employee benefits and worker compensation costs that illegal use/sale of opioids.
  2. 86% of employers believe taking opioids as prescribed can impair job performance—however, only 60% have set policies requiring employer notification
  3. Half of employers are not confident enough from an HR standpoint to address opioid misuse in the workplace
  4. 70 % of employers are not confident enough with spotting suspicious behavior

National Safety Council Suggested Solutions to a Proactive Approach to Safety & Health Programs:

  1. Compose a clear, written policy
  2. Educate your workers
  3. Supervisor training
  4. An employee assistance program
  5. Drug Testing- pre-employment and random

Occupational Safety & Health

National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) suggests the following elements to be considered when creating an Ergonomics Program:

  • A person in charge of the program authorized to make decisions and institute change
  • Active employee involvement in identifying problems and finding solutions
  • A clearly defined administrative structure such as a committee
  • A system to identify and analyze risk factors
  • A system to research, obtain and implement solutions
  • Worker and management training
  • Medical care for injured workers
  • Maintain high quality injury records
  • Regular evaluation of the program’s effectiveness

Amerisafe Group’s Occupational Health Services

Amerisafe Group’s Occupational Health Division specializes in on-site pre-employment and random on-site DOT and non DOT testing services. Our medical staff offers Reasonable Suspicion Programs for employers, as well as workers. This program offers training and insight for employers on what to look for when they suspect an employee using opioids, or any drug at the workplace.

Our Professional Safety Consultants are capable of assessing your company’s current compliance and occupational health programs and provide suggestions for improvement as well as create an entire safety and ergonomics program from the ground up specifically for your company's needs. Let us help you stay on top of injury prevention while eliminating the opioid epidemic for a healthy future workplace.

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