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Drug-Free Work Week

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Monday, October 19, 2009 4:56 PM EST
Category: In The Workplace
Tags: Drug-Free Work Environments, Work Safety, Drug Safety, Workplace Safety, Consumer Safety


IMAGE SOURCE: © Drug Free Work Week by the U.S. Department of Labor

Drug-Free Work Week is a U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored event that takes place from October 19 – 25.

The purpose is to highlight the benefits of drug-free workplace programs and to raise awareness of the many resources available to achieve safe, healthy and drug-free work environments.

Workng drug free helps…

Make workplaces safer while preventing accidents from occurring

Improves productivity while reducing costs related to increased absences, accidents and errors

Encourages people with drug and alcohol problems to seek help

Recent research finds…

75 percent of the nation’s illegal drug users are employed, and an estimated 3 percent or more have admitted to drug use before or during work hours.

79 percent of the nation’s alcohol users are employed. While more than 7 percent admit to consuming alcohol during the workday.

Up to 40 percent of industrial fatalities and 47 percent of industrial injuries can be traced to alcohol consumption and alcoholism.

Drug-free workplace programs help to protect employers and employees from the potentially devastating consequences of worker alcohol and drug use. Establishing policies, educating about the dangers of drug and alcohol use, deterring and detecting use, and urging people to seek help are smart safety strategies. They’re also smart business strategies.

An unfortunate case comes to mind when I think of the importance of keeping the workplace drug free. Does Kristen Diane Parker ring a bell?

In July, a Colorado technician was accused of stealing syringes filled with pain medication and switching them with used syringes despite knowing she had hepatitis C.

Parker, 26, who is infected with hepatitis C, put nearly 6,000 patients at risk during surgeries at the Rose Medical Center near Denver.

An even more recent case involved a Florida nurse who is accused of exposing patients to HIV and reusing medical supplies. These are just two recent cases of drugs being used in the workplace, there are several more unfortunately.

The Drug-Free Workplace Advisor, by the Department of Labor, assists users in building tailored drug-free workplace policies and provides guidance on how to develop comprehensive drug-free workplace programs. #

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