Fatal Overdoses At Work Increase For Sixth Consecutive Year

Unintentional overdoses at work increased by 12 percent in 2018—the sixth consecutive annual increase and a reflection of the broader opioid crisis facing the nation.


https://facilityexecutive.com/2019/12/fatal-overdoses-at-work-increase-for-sixth-consecutive-year/
Unintentional overdoses at work increased by 12 percent in 2018—the sixth consecutive annual increase and a reflection of the broader opioid crisis facing the nation.
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Fatal Overdoses At Work Increase For Sixth Consecutive Year

Unintentional overdoses at work increased by 12 percent in 2018—the sixth consecutive annual increase and a reflection of the broader opioid crisis facing the nation.

Fatal Overdoses At Work Increase For Sixth Consecutive Year

opioids in the workplace
(Source: U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

The just-released Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Report shows the rate of fatal work injuries remained unchanged in 2018. Tragically, however, unintentional overdoses at work increased by 12 percent—the sixth consecutive annual increase and a reflection of the broader opioid crisis facing the nation. To combat this problem, President Trump has declared the opioid epidemic a National Health Emergency. OSHA also teamed with the National Safety Council on the release of a toolkit to help employers address opioid abuse in their workplaces and support workers in recovery.

Suicide at work, which increased by 11 percent in 2018, is also a tragic public health problem that can have lasting harmful effects on families, workplaces, and communities. OSHA created a new webpage with free and confidential resources to help identify the warning signs of suicide and to help users know who and how to call for help.

The report also showed a 14 percent decline in work-related fatal falls from heights, the lowest total since 2013. Enforcement efforts helped abate more than 7,000 fall-related hazards in the construction industry.

“OSHA will continue to use BLS data for enforcement targeting within its jurisdiction to help prevent tragedies,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. “Inspections for OSHA were up, and we will work with state plans so employers and workers can find compliance assistance tools in many forms or call the agency to report unsafe working conditions. Any fatality is one too many.”

Employers who need assistance in meeting their safety obligations can take advantage of OSHA’s no-cost and confidential On-Site Consultation Program. OSHA Training Institute Education Centers (OTIs) also provide training to workers, employers, and other safety professionals across the nation.

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