Opioids pose serious risks, which is why the current opioid crisis is so dangerous. One of the ways opioids end up in people’s hands, and habits, is when recovering from a work-related injuries. Data related to workplace opioids can give some key information as to how this crisis impacts the workforce. In fact, you might be surprised at what the current trends are…
Workplace Opioids: Key Data
Chronic pain & previous injuries
One interesting piece of data related to workplace opioids is how they’re related to previous injuries. Most people would assume that most of the opioid-treated injuries are recent. However, the data shows otherwise. As it turns out, most of these injuries are actually older rather than recent.
Based on data from 2016, in 44 states, 15% of these prescriptions were for injuries which were 6 years or older. 30% were for injuries 2-5 years old, and 55% were for ones less than 2 years old. What this shows is most of these pills are given to treat chronic pain from past work injuries, rather than more-current injuries.
Industry & workforce
Industry and workforce also have some key data about workplace opioids. As you might expect, many physical labor jobs have high rates of opioid use. Mining and construction have the highest rates, followed by agriculture, forestry, and fishing. However, carpal tunnel is one of the most-common reasons for opioid prescriptions, showing that even office workers are at risk.
Age and company size play a role as well. Older workers tend to be given pills at higher rates than younger workers. This is mainly due to the fact that they’re at an increased risk of injury. Smaller companies also tend to see more workers who will use opioids, when compared to larger companies.
One good piece of data about workplace opioids is that they’re going down in usage. From 2016, 44% of compensation claims resulted in at least one prescription for opioids. Granted, this is still a pretty high number. However, it is 11% lower than is was four years prior in 2012.
Furthermore, the amount of pills prescribed is also going down. In 2016, many states were prescribing lower-level painkillers instead of the more highly-addictive, stronger ones. Plus, many states are working with employees to better educate them about the pills they’re taking.
As a truck driver, you’ll have to be prepared for when things potentially go wrong. Perhaps the most apparent case of truck driving gone awry is when you experience a truck breakdown. If you find yourself in an emergency situation such as this, there’s a few things you’ll want to try…
Truck Breakdown: What You Should Do?
Take preventive measures
One of the best ways to handle a truck breakdown is to try and prevent them in the first place. Many causes of breakdowns are thing which most drivers could have avoided if they had taken some preventative measures. Therefore, make use of things like weight stations, and pre-/post-trip inspections to check if your truck’s still in good shape.
Still, sometimes things just go wrong. In these cases, you want to make sure you’re properly prepared ahead of time. Try to prepare yourself a well-equipped emergency kit with supplies both for short-term, as well as long-term waiting periods.
Pull off the road
When you start to experience a truck breakdown, your first priority should be to pull off the road. You’ll want to put your hazard lights on so other drivers around you know that something is wrong. Then, put your turn signal on, and get yourself off of the road and well away from any traffic.
Be sure that you’re not pulling off on a hill or slope which could cause your truck to roll or slide over. Once you’ve stopped, keep the hazards on, and secure your tires with some wheel chocks. Also, it helps to try and place some traffic cones or emergency triangles around the truck to let others know to watch their distance.
Assess the situation
After you’ve got your truck off the road, the next part of handling a truck breakdown is to asses the situation at hand. Be careful about poking around in the engine, especially if there’s smoke. Instead, alert your dispatcher about what’s happened, so they can call in a tow truck and let the client know.
It’s also good to do a quick check of your trailer and cargo too. Plus, if you’re carrying temperature-controlled or potentially dangerous materials, you want to ensure that they’re still in good shape. Give your trailer a quick look-over, and check for any dents or damage on the cargo itself.
Different types of work can come with different types of risks. Some of the most dangerous places to work in are dusty workplaces. However, there’s many ways to protect yourself while you work in these spaces…
Dusty Workplaces: Protect Your Lungs
Dangers of dust
Dusty workplaces are risky because of the kind of dust they have in them. Of course, this dust just isn’t your standard dust that gathers around the house. Instead, this dust tends to be from materials like asbestos, wood shavings, or some kind of chemical compound.
Dust like this is very harmful when it gets breathed in. For starters, it can cause irritation in the nose, throat, and lungs. It can also clog up these airways, making it harder to breathe. Plus, this dust could potentially sit in the lungs for a long time, potentially causing health issues like lung disease or cancer.
Protective equipment is key for staying safe in dusty workplaces. Of course, the most apparent piece of gear to have are breathing masks. These masks will ensure you can safely breathe while also filtering out any harmful particles. Different types of mask might work in different ways, so be sure to double-check the kind you’re using.
Don’t forget about other equipment like goggles and gloves as well. Dust can also cause issues if it enters the eyes, and some types might cause skin irritation too. It’s a good idea to wear clothes which will completely cover your body, to get the most protection possible. Just be sure to bring a pair to change into after!
Keep it clean
The thing about dust is that it can steadily build up over time. Now, most dusty workplaces have a lot of dust made all at once due to the work at hand. However, some might only have a bit of dust, which accumulates between work. Either way, you want to be sure to clean up after you’re finished.
Cleaning up dust, even these kinds, is thankfully still straightforward enough. You’ll just need things like brooms, vacuums, or dusters as needed. However, don’t forget to make sure you’re clean too. You don’t want to accidentally track some of that dust back into your home.
Painkillers can be useful for reducing pain you experience after injury. However, as you might know, there’s been a lot of concern about opioid dangers and risks. Knowing these dangers can help you see what misuse of these pills could lead to….
Opioid Dangers: Potential Health Risks
How opioids work
To best understand opioid dangers, you might want to better understand how these medications work. These pills work differently than your over-the-counter pain relievers. Over-the-counter choices interfere with pain signals sent by your nerves. By doing so, your brain thinks you’re in less pain, and you feel some relief.
Stronger, prescription choices work by binding to opioid receptors in the body. As they do this, they block off pain signals sent from the brain. At the same time, they also release large amounts of dopamine. Therefore, not only you feel less pain, you also feel much better overall.
Seeing how these pills works shows just why addiction is one of the largest opioid dangers. The issue with these pills is just how good they can make a person feel. Having that dopamine rush can make taking more and more of the drug appealing, in order to keep that high going on for longer. In turn, this leads to addiction.
However, even taking the medication properly can lead to dangers. As you continue to take these pills, the receptors in the body can get “burnt out” from constant use. This is what’s know as developing a tolerance. Due to this tolerance, you might need to take more pills to get the same effect, which is risky.
Other health effects
Opioid dangers aren’t just limited to addiction development. They can also negatively effect other parts of the body as well. For instance, the brain tends to be one of the first major areas impacted by long-term use. Things such as confusion, drowsiness, and slower breathing can be symptoms related to opioids.
Another area that can also be at-risk is the digestive system. Issue with nausea and vomiting are common with those who abuse opioids. Plus, you might have issues with digestion, even the the point where you can’t keep food or water down.
Warehouses serve as a crucial in-between for manufacturers and shipping companies. However, they also have very high rates of worker injuries. As a result, it’s important to practice good warehouse safety. There’s a few overlooked areas in specific which tend to cause many of these injuries…
Warehouse Safety: Overlooked Areas
A lot of people might think warehouses are more in-land these days. Still, many are located on coastlines or on waterways. These ones tend to make use of docks to help bring in more cargo by way of ship. Of course, these docks can also pose some potential warehouse safety risks.
Docks can be a place where workers might accidentally slip or walk off the edge and into the water. The same can potentially happen when operating equipment near docks as well. Therefore, be sure that the edge of the docks are clearly marked so everyone knows where to be careful. Avoid jumping between docks as well, just to avoid the risk.
Forklifts are a very handy piece of equipment. They allow workers to lift and transport goods that they normally couldn’t by hand. However, they can be quite dangerous if misused. That’s why understanding how to forklifts safely is another important part of good warehouse safety.
For starters, before anyone handles a forklift, they should have knowledge and training about how to use them. While using them, be sure to know the weight limits so you avoid overloading the machine. Heavy loads increase the risk of the forklift tipping over. Be sure that the lights and signals are also in working order, so others will know when a forklift is approaching.
The entire purpose of a warehouse is to store goods until they need to be shipped out somewhere. It’s no surprise, then, that good storage is key for any warehouse. Good storage techniques are also important for good warehouse safety too. While it might seem straightforward, proper storage does tend to get overlooked, especially as the day goes on.
The main things about storage is accessibility and stability. You want to store goods in a way where it’s easy to reach them, without having to twist your body. Moving items around also means you should practice proper lifting and carrying techniques as well. When storing items, be sure that they are securely on a shelf or rack, and aren’t loose or balancing on other, less-sturdy items.