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 occuring 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
Many employers are simply turning the other way when they notice activity that may hint at drug abuse on the jobsite. Functional workers under the influence can be so productive that employers would rather ignore a risky situation than fire them and find a replacement.
Drug testing isn’t even performed by a large number of construction firms. And due to the steady flow of workers coming and going on a jobsite, many employers don’t bother to verify that their workers are sober on the job. Looking the other way could result in an accident on the jobsite that provokes an OSHA inspection. If such an injury has occured 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.