InTents December/January 2020 - 54

business | safety

Opioids and your workplace
A new toolkit from the National Safety Council aims to help employers
and employees understand how opioid use affects the workplace-
and what to do about it.

or the ϐirst time in U.S. history, a
person is more likely to die from an
accidental opioid overdose than from a
motor vehicle crash. The numbers don't
lie-in 2017, more than 72,000 people
died of drug overdoses. Of those deaths,
more than 47,000 involved opioids.
More than 2 million Americans suffer
from an opioid use disorder (OUD).
The National Safety Council (NSC) has
released a new toolkit that employers
can use to address the opioid crisis. NSC
is calling on all employers to equip their
workplace ϐirst aid kits with naloxone,
an overdose reversal drug; provide
supervisor education around opioid
misuse; and include access to treatment
options in their employee assistance
programs-all elements of a robust
drug-free workplace policy.
The Opioids at Work Employer Toolkit,
launched in partnership with medical
waste compliance company Stericycle,
provides information and resources
for supervisors, human resource (HR)
professionals, safety professionals and
employees. The kit includes sample
policies, fact sheets, presentations, safety
talks, posters, white papers, reports
and videos to implement a workplace
program on opioids.
"Two-thirds of American adults
with opioid use disorders are in the
workforce," says Lorraine M. Martin,
president and CEO of the National Safety
Council. "Everyone has a role to play
in ending opioid overdose, including

F
Key steps for employers
Workplace impairment is an
ongoing occupational health and
safety issue. The free Opioids at
Work Employer Toolkit can help
employers take steps like these:
* Ensure everyone in the workplace
understands how to recognize
impairment and what to do
in the event of impairment in
themselves or others.
* Develop policies and procedures
that clearly address impairment
in the workplace and are
consistently enforced.
* Emphasize that safety is a
shared responsibility between
employers and employees-it's
everyone's responsibility to
keep the workplace safe.
Download the free toolkit at
nsc.org/opioidsatwork.

54 intents

dec 2019-jan 2020

employers, who are often on the front
lines. Organizations big and small will
ϐind life-saving information in this new
toolkit-information that not only will
help employers protect proϐits, but most
important, their people."

Impairment on the job
The opioid overdose crisis is driven by
three categories of opioids-prescription
painkillers (for example, Vicodin,
Percocet and OxyContin), heroin and
fentanyl. Even when taken as prescribed,
opioids can impair both mental and
physical functioning. Side effects include
sleepiness, nausea, dizziness and slower
reaction times. Any of these side effects
can cause impairment, posing a hazard to
the workplace.
Employers should have policies in
place to manage employees who are
being prescribed opioids, including but
not limited to providing reasonable
accommodation during the duration of
the prescription, reminding the employee
of resources available (short- or long-term
disability, Family Medical Leave Act, etc.),
and establishing procedures for employees
to return to work or their position after the
risk for impairment is gone.
While it is not their responsibility
to diagnose a substance use disorder,
supervisors and HR professionals should
know how to recognize warning signs and
how to refer employees to the appropriate
services. Impairment caused by opioids
can be difϐicult to identify because it


http://www.nsc.org/opioidsatwork

InTents December/January 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of InTents December/January 2020

InTents December/January 2020 - Cover1
InTents December/January 2020 - Cover2
InTents December/January 2020 - 1
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