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A new government report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics looked at the leading causes of death on the job. Traditionally exposure to toxic chemicals, workplace violence, and traffic accidents are the most prolific and fastest-growing causes of death on the job, however, drug overdoses surged past them in 2017 to become the fastest-growing cause of death on the job. In 2016 the number of fatal overdoses from drug or alcohol use in the workplace was at 165 people nation-wide, and that number grew a shocking 32% in 2017.
Overall, 5,190 personnel experienced fatal work injuries in 2016, so 165 of them being attributed to drugs and/or alcohol doesn’t seem like that large of a number. Keep in mind, however, that workplace overdose fatalities have increased by at least 25% annually since 2012 according tot he Labor Statistics Bureau. This is the fastest growth rate for any category of fatal workplace injuries during that time period.
The National Safety Council responded to this new information by calling on employers to ensure the safety of their workers. They stated:
“This includes having policies and training in place to address the major causes of fatalities as well as emerging issues such as prescription opioid misuse and fatigue.”
Employers should maintain a clear and up-to-date workplace drug and alcohol testing policy in order to ensure the safety of not only their employees, but also their customers. Does your policy need updated for the new year? Contact the Current Consulting Group by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, including pricing and how we can best help you ensure compliance with federal and state regulations.