As we discussed in the first and second sections, one growing concern in the construction industry is in regard to the opioid crisis. The abuse of painkillers has taken the lives of thousands of men and women and is even considered a state of emergency in many parts of the country. Unfortunately, the opioid crisis has also affected many construction projects leading to accidents, injuries, and billions of dollars in expenses.
As Jacksonville construction lawyers, we know that substance abuse has no place in the workplace. Between ensuring the safety of everyone on your project, and the nearby bystanders, to excessive financial penalties from OSHA, there are many reasons why contractors need to verify that their workplace is free from substance abuse. The following preventive measures may save lives and help your company avoid costly OSHA citations.
Third Party Audits
There are numerous companies that offer auditing services for construction companies. Employing one of these firms to periodically inspect your workplace and give your project an unbiased “fresh pair of eyes” can be a great benefit. A third party inspector can monitor everything from the employees to the work being performed to potential OSHA citations that need correction. Hiring an inspection firm can help your company prevent a serious accident or steep financial penalties.
Preventive Healthcare Options
Although there is no denying that certain workers will need access to opioid prescriptions at certain times to help alleviate or recover from an injury, it’s best to offer workers minimal access to opioids in their healthcare plans. It’s also important to check in with them from time to time to see how their recovery process is going. Another option is to promote physical therapy and other drugs that are not as addictive as painkillers.
Offering significant paid time off or sick leave may not be ideal for a construction company facing an important deadline, but it may be the best route for an employee that is prescribed opioids. Giving your employee a few weeks off to rest and recover is clearly the best way to prevent any liability in regard to having that employee on location. Offering remote assignments to the employee is another great option as well. For example, if a worker is prescribed opioids, take them away from their typical tasks on the construction site and relocate the employee to the office for a few weeks until they have properly healed from their ailment.
For more information on preventive measures to take to ensure a drug-free workplace, please read the final section.
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.