Construction is one of the most physically demanding industries that a person can work in. The long hours and back-breaking work can easily lead to injuries in the workplace. However, there is another serious concern that is afflicting the construction industry.
The U.S. is currently in the midst of a drug epidemic with an estimated 72,000 deaths related to overdose in 2017. Many of these deaths are occurring on construction sites. But why is the construction industry, in particular, being affected? Here, a Florida OSHA lawyer will discuss the reasons that the construction industry is being plagued by substance abuse.
Flying Under the Radar
Despite that fact that most employers enforce a strict drug-free workplace, many workers are able to adequately peform their duties and fly under the radar. These workers are so productive, in fact, that their employers would have never guessed that their star workers were impaired while operating heavy machinery, working at elevated heights, or using dangerous construction equipment, among other tasks that should never be performed by a worker under the influence.
Unfortunately, a large number of construction firms don’t perform regular drug testing. And due to the steady flow of workers coming and going on a jobsite, many employers don’t know where to begin in verifying that their workers are sober on the job. Failing to perform drug testing could result in an accident on the jobsite that provokes an OSHA inspection. If such an injury has occurred on your watch, please contact a Florida OSHA lawyer today.
A Tough Job
As mentioned, construction work is one of the most painful jobs an employee can perform. Work of this nature often involves heavy lifting, frequent bending and standing, and the use of potentially toxic materials. On-the-job injuries can happen even with sober, sharp workers. For these reasons, heavy-duty medications, like highly addictive opioids, are prescribed to combat pain following an injury. And when a worker in pain runs out of prescription opioids, they often turn to illegal substances like heroin or crystal meth to self-medicate.
It is an employer’s responsibility to ensure that their construction site is a safe and drug-free work environment. This can be accomplished by using preventative measures, such as drug testing and offering addiction treatments and health insurance. Again, willfully ignoring drug-addicted employees can lead to injury and a subsequent OSHA inspection. If you are in any way concerned that your project site is vulnerable to failing an OSHA inspection, a Florida OSHA defense lawyer can assist you.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.