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Drug abuse in the United States is an increasing problem, and the workplace is definitely not immune to this epidemic. Even though illicit drugs, such as cocaine and and heroin, account for the majority of workplace overdose deaths, prescription pain relievers containing opioids are of a major concern as well. Every single day, more than 130 people die in the United States after overdosing on opioids, which includes prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate the total “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.

Nearly half of workplace overdose deaths occur in three industries: transportation and warehousing, construction, and healthcare and social assistance. A survey conducted by the National Safety Council found that 75% of employers said their organizations have been directly affected by opioids, contributing to workplace overdoses and injuries, positive drug tests, and absenteeism.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has developed a fact sheet to help employers and workers understand the risk of opioid overdose and help them decide if they should establish a workplace naloxone availability and use program. If you do decide a workplace naloxone availability and use program should be established, here are some quick bullets from the fact sheet to help your organization get started with policies and procedures needed:

• Conduct a risk assessment before implementing a naloxone program
• Involve workplace safety committee and include worker representatives in the discussions
• Need a plan to purchase, store and administer naloxone in case of overdose
• Consider liability and other legal issues related to such a program
• Include formal procedures for documenting incidents and managing those records
• Define clear roles and responsibilities for all persons designated to respond to a suspected overdose
• Store personal protective equipment (PPE) close to the naloxone for quick response
• Develop a plan for immediate care by professional healthcare providers, referral for follow-up care, and ongoing support for any worker who has overdosed
• Re-evaluate the program periodically – including assessing new risks, maintaining equipment and restocking of naloxone and other first aid supplies


Tagged in: drug overdose opioids

OSHA has issued a final rule revising 14 provisions in its recordkeeping, general industry, maritime, and construction standards that might be outdated, confusing, or unnecessary. According to the agency's Federal Register notice, the rule “reduces regulatory burden while maintaining or enhancing worker safety and health, and improving privacy protections.” OSHA also stated in a press release that the changes are expected to save employers an estimated total of $6.1 million per year.

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Tagged in: OSHA osha standards

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Since the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed in 1970, the rate of work deaths and reported injuries in the United States has decreased more than 60 percent. Even though is this great news, there are still too many deaths and injuries in the workplace. Every year, more than 5000 workers are killed on the job – that’s still 14 a day! Also, more than 3.6 million suffer a serious job-related injury or illness.

Implementing a safety and health program at your business can not only save lives, but can help your business by reducing costs, including significant reductions in workers’ compensation premiums, increase productivity, engage workers, and enhance overall business operations. Safe + Sound Week is a nationwide event that celebrates businesses who have successfully implemented safety and health programs in the workplace, and this year’s event is August 12-18.

Safe + Sound Week is a great time to raise awareness and understanding of the value of safety and health programs. The annual event highlights businesses that show their commitment to safety by focusing on such initiatives as management leadership, worker participation, and a systematic approach to finding and fixing hazards in workplaces.

Don’t have an established safety and health program at your business or maybe it’s time to update your current program? We are a leading provider of industrial hygiene, safety, and risk management services; industrial hygiene and safety data management; and occupational safety training courses. and workplace risk management. Workplace Safety & Health Co. Inc. is helping you protect your most valuable asset – your employees. Contact us at 317-253-9737 or check out our website at We look forward to working with you.

A Kansas aircraft manufacturer exposed its employees to hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen, and failed to monitor exposure levels, according to OSHA, which has assessed citations and fines against Spirit Aerosystems Inc.

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Tagged in: OSHA osha regulations

All workers have the right to a safe and healthy work environment, no matter if they are permanent employees or temporary workers, but unfortunately, research has shown that temporary workers are about twice the risk of being injured on the job. This is especially true of workers in the manufacturing and construction industries.

To help combat this statistic, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) established the Temporary Worker Initiative (TWI), which requires that all workers receive the same safety training and equipment, regardless of their employment status.
The staffing agency and the host employer are jointly responsible for maintaining a safe work environment for temporary workers. To ensure both parties have a clear understanding of each employer’s role in protecting employees, OSHA recommends the staffing agency and the host employer have each of these responsibilities spelled out in their contract based on compliance with applicable OSHA standards. For example, staffing agencies might provide general safety and health training while the host employers would provide specific training to that particular workplace’s equipment and hazards.

Both staffing agencies and host employers must:
• Enforce OSHA requirements for training, hazard communication (HAZCOM) and recordkeeping
• Communicate with each other
• Provide training to temporary employees
• Have a safety and health program to reduce injuries and illnesses
• Investigate injuries and illnesses, as well as near-misses

Staffing agencies must:
• Ensure they are sending workers to a safe workplace, including the host employer has fulfilled all requirements for a safe workplace
• Be aware of their worker’s assigned duties so they can provide proper training
• Instruct workers on how to report an injury and how to receive medical treatment for it
• Keep in contact with temporary workers on extended assignments

Host employers must:
• Treat temporary workers like all other employees in terms of training and safety and health protections, including how to use and maintain any applicable personal protective equipment (PPE)
• Train temporary workers on emergency procedures and exit routes

For a more in-depth look at recommended practices, take a look at this brochure published by OSHA and NIOSH. Have any questions, contact us at 317-253-9737. Workplace Safety & Health is here to help you keep your employees safe and healthy!


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