On-the-job Injuries Caused by Co-workers Under the Influence?

Even under the best conditions, a construction site is a chaotic place. With so many different activities happening each and every day, it is important for all workers to be on the same page. Any mistake can lead to a construction accident which may cause serious injuries or death.

To help reduce the risk of injury, workers and their employers often take steps to ensure that a project remains safe. However, not everyone takes these initiatives seriously. When someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he or she may not be able to make the split-second decisions necessary to prevent an accident from happening.

Some employers do not have drug and alcohol policies in place, which may subject workers to unnecessary danger while on the job site. Recently, five construction trade associations have joined forces as the Construction Coalition for a Drug- and Alcohol-Free Workplace.

The campaign is designed to help smaller companies that may not be able to draft and implement a drug and alcohol policy on their own. The coalition will provide materials to these companies to help them understand some of the information that must be included, including requirements for each state’s drug and alcohol testing policies.

The program will also include ways to recognize substance abuse problems at the job site, and also how to ensure rehabilitation avenues are available to employees with drug or alcohol abuse problems.

The increased awareness may help reduce the number of construction accidents, but workers still need to be aware of some of their options if they are injured. Workers may be eligible to file workers’ compensation claims if they are hurt while working. It is important to report any injury as soon as it happens in order to preserve all of the available options.

Source: EHS Today “Drugs and Construction Sites Don’t Mix: Staying Sober to Save Lives, Prevent Injuries” Laura Walter, May 17 2012.