Workplace Opioids: Usage and Injuries

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.

Lowering rates

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.

Warehouse Safety: Avoiding Work Injuries

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

Docks

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

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.

Storage

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.

Sick Co-Worker: Avoiding Illness

No one likes getting sick. Being sick can really put a damper on your day-to-day activities, especially in the workplace. So when you notice a sick co-worker, you’re probably wondering how you don’t end up like them. However, there are some steps you can take to keep yourself healthy…

Sick Co-Worker: Keep Yourself Healthy

Keep some distance

Keeping your distance from a sick co-worker is the most apparent way to prevent yourself from getting sick. Your chance of getting sick increases the more you’re around someones who is sick. Therefore, it makes sense that giving them some space would help keep you healthy.

However, this doesn’t mean you should completely avoid them. After all, its not like they want to be sick either! So don’t let some space turn into actively avoiding them. Of course, you should still be willing to work together with them when needed.

Avoid those germs

Germs can spread in a multitude of ways. From touch to coughs and sneezes, those germs can get around the workplace fast. This could lead to you getting sick even if you keep some space from a sick co-worker. That’s why it’s a good idea to tackle those germs head-on.

For example, it might be a good idea to keep some cleaning wipes at your desk. You can use these to wipe down your desk and other items periodically to keep them clean of germs. You might also want to avoid some common ways that germs are spread, like sharing drinks.

Boost your immune system

Taking measures in the workplace to handle a sick co-worker is one part of helping you stay healthy. The second part involves some steps you can take on your own. These include ways you can give your immune system a boost to further help prevent getting sick.

Eating healthier will help with boosting your immune system. Fruit and vegetables, especially those with vitamin C, help boost your immunity. So do other things like getting enough sleep and exercising. Beginning to take some of these healthy steps can help you remain healthy as well. 

Work can already be stressful for many people. A sick co-worker can add a new level of worry on top of that. However, if you’re prepared, you can help increase your chances of remaining healthy while the sickness goes away.

Fire Safety & Prevention in the Workplace

Fires are very costly affairs, both in terms of money and the risk to people’s lives. Therefore, like with other workplace hazards, it’s important to practice good fire safety when you’re at work. Doing so will help ensure that you and the rest of your co-workers are safe when on the clock…

Fire Safety: Avoiding Workplace Injuries

Be careful with flames

Depending on the job you do, working with hot objects or open flames might be common. Of course, these flames are meant to be handled under controlled and supervised environments. Making a mistake could result in these fires getting out of hand very quickly.

Therefore, a major part of fire safety at the workplace is keeping an eye on any flames. Whether it be from a furnace, a burner, or a stove, never leave a flame unattended. If you must leave, make sure to extinguish the flame.

Keep the workplace clean

Having a cluttered workplace can present a fire hazard in two ways. First, these objects can be fuel for a fire, allowing it to grow and spread. Secondly, the objects could also block off important passageways, preventing people from evacuating. Therefore, another part of good fire safety is keeping your workplace clean.

For starters, it helps to identify any materials which could easily catch on fire. This could include things like wood, paper, and cardboard. Make sure to store these items in a safe space, away from both the main workplace as well as from any fire hazards. This will also help ensure they aren’t clogging up important evacuation routes.

Plan for emergencies

While prevention is a major part of fire safety, it’s still important to be ready for emergencies. If a fire does break out, then you’ll need to know what to do depending on the situation. This could mean either trying to extinguish it, or getting away from it.

Fire extinguishers can be useful for putting out small fires before they grow. Make sure you know where they’re located in your workplace, as well as that you’re trained in their usage. However, if you can’t reach them, or the fire is too strong, it’s best to flee. Follow your workplace’s emergency evacuation procedure to ensure you can safely get away.