NSC: 75% of Employers Say Their Workplace Is Impacted by Opioid Use

Hospitality / Retail, Industrial / Construction, Material Handling / Crane, Safety News

Seventy-five percent of U.S. employers have been directly affected by opioids but – startlingly – only 17% feel extremely well prepared to deal with the issue, according to a survey released by the National Safety Council in recognition of Poison Prevention Week. Thirty-eight percent have experienced absenteeism or impaired worker performance, and 31% have had an overdose, arrest, a near-miss or an injury because of employee opioid use.

For the first time in U.S. history, a person is more likely to die from an accidental opioid overdose than from a motor vehicle crash, according to NSC calculations. In fact, workplace overdose deaths involving drugs or alcohol have increased by at least 25% for five consecutive years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Key Survey Findings Include:

  • 38% of respondents have seen absenteeism or impaired performance at their sites due to opioid use
  • 31% experienced a near-miss/injury, overdose or arrest
  • 14% saw borrowing or selling opioids at work
  • 79% are not very confident that individual employees can spot warning signs of opioid misuse
  • 86% of employers believe taking opioids even as prescribed can impair job performance, yet only 60% have policies in place requiring employees to notify their employer when they are using a prescription opioid.
  • Only half of employers are very confident that they have the appropriate HR policies and resources to deal with opioid use and misuse in the workplace.
  • 41% of employers would return an employee to work after he or she receives treatment for misusing prescription opioids.

The data come from a survey of 526 employers across the US, all with 50 to more than 1K employees in industrial, public and social services, professional, retail/wholesale and other industries.

NSC provides a free Prescription Drug Employer Kit to help employers manage opioid use at work. Based on survey results, NSC intends to add components to the kit, including a robust workplace policy.

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