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Opioid Abuse in Workplace: Manufacturing Firms at Risk

Opioid Abuse & Workplace Your Manufacturing Firm at RiskPhysicians have long been prescribing opioids to their patients for pain management. However, recent media reports have surfaced the abuse of these drugs among injured workers. Although the prescription of these drugs is typically well intentioned, certain users are at the highest risk for abusing these drugs: construction workers and manufacturers. Because of the scope of this issue, be sure to safeguard your client’s firm with a PA Manufacturers Workers’ Compensation policy.

Although the concern is widespread across every industry, recent reports show that the construction and manufacturing industries are predominantly at risk and most companies have input a risk management system to handle the issue.

Bill Boyd, senior Vice President of Risk Control for the CNA, stated “The opioid abuse epidemic is taking a toll on many aspects of the U.S. economy, including businesses’ Workers’ Compensation losses. The delay of returning injured employees to work can affect operations and, therefore, negatively impact a company’s bottom line.”

While most of the drug abuse comes from legally obtained prescriptions, they are oftentimes diverted illegally. In other words, these workers are sharing the drugs with those who do not have prescriptions for pain medication or selling them in an illegal market. The CNA also reports that an estimated 15.1% of construction workers and 6.5% of manufacturing workers have used pain drugs illicitly. This abuse has led to a categorization of employees based on a low to high risk potential group using claim data and how much money it cost the employer post-accident.

In order to decrease the risk of injury on the job due to drug abuse, the CNA recommends the following actions:

Educate Employees- Notify them about using opioids properly, the potential addictiveness of the drugs, and how they interact with other drugs which can lead to increased risk.

Communicate- Understand the risk involved with opioid abuse and promote legal and safe acquisition of the drugs through a pharmacy. If abuse occurs, discuss treatment options such as counseling and behavior modification. Encourage your employees to ask questions to understand as much as possible about the drug to avoid abuse.

Social Support- Have a return-to-work strategy and welcome the employee back to a safe environment.

At Associated Specialty Insurance Agency (ASIA), we have a profound knowledge of Workers’ Compensation for a variety of specialty industries. With over twenty years of experience, we have access to a number of markets throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida. For more information about our services and the Industries We Target, contact our specialists today at (866) 679-7457.

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