Preventing Overdose Deaths at Work
As the opioid crisis continues to affect the nation, employers and workers are confronting overdose situations in workplaces, where not only workers but clients, customers, and visitors may be at risk of an overdose.
In response, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has published a new fact sheet for employers and workers dealing with the opioid crisis.
The new fact sheet, Using Naloxone to Reverse Opioid Overdose in the Workplace: Information for Employers and Workers, provides a series of steps for employers to consider when deciding if their workplace should establish a naloxone program, making the overdose reversal medication available.
Naloxone Fact Sheet
According to 2017 data from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, on average 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.
Workplaces are increasingly becoming sites where overdoses are occurring, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics finding that between 2013 and 2016, overdose deaths at work from non-medical use of drugs and alcohol increased by at least 38% annually.
“With overdose events increasing in the workplace, having naloxone available can provide a tool that [employers] can use, along with first-aid measures to support breathing, to provide aid in the event of an opioid overdose while waiting [for] first responders to arrive on the scene,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, MD.
“NIOSH developed this fact sheet to help employers decide if having naloxone available is right for their workplace.”
The fact sheet is part of NIOSH’s broader effort to confront the opioid crisis. The NIOSH framework, a plan to fight the opioid crisis from an occupational perspective, includes providing resources for workers, employers, and occupational safety and health professionals to learn more about the opioid crisis, including data, field investigations, and research, as well as tools to help.
This article is based on materials provided by NIOSH. Content has been edited for style and length.
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