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Construction Industry Hit Hard by the Opioid Epidemic

Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers weigh in on injured construction workers and the opioid epidemic. The construction industry is often at the top of the list when it comes to serious workplace accidents. Falls from ladders and scaffolding, being struck by falling debris, and getting caught in between heavy objects or machinery can cause injuries that leave the worker in constant pain. Prescription opioids can help manage the pain, but this often leads to another serious problem. Workers start out taking the prescription painkillers so that they can manage their pain and continue to go to work every day. However, too many workers become addicted to these powerful opioids. Reports show an alarming number of construction workers have died from opioid overdoses over the past few years.

According to the National Safety Council’s 2017 Survey on Drug and Substance Abuse, 15 percent of construction workers deal with substance abuse, which is close to twice the national average. This is largely due to the physically demanding work they do on a daily basis. In fact, a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that injury rates among construction workers are 77 percent higher than other occupations. Researchers also found that construction workers often return to work before an injury has fully healed, which can lead to a dangerous cycle of opioid abuse and fatal overdoses.

Another factor that contributed to the high rates of overdose deaths was the lack of job security and paid sick days. Public health officials have said that the key to reducing the incidence of opioid overdose deaths is to provide safe job environments that have a low risk of injury. In addition, employers should ensure that injured workers have enough time to fully recover from an injury, which would help prevent workers from self-medicating in order to keep his or her job.

Changes Employers Can Make to Reduce Opioid Overdoses

The opioid epidemic is a widespread problem that affects people of all races, classes, and ages. It is a problem that cannot be changed overnight, but the following are steps that the construction industry can take to prevent workers from becoming addicted to prescription opioids, or die from a senseless overdose:

  • Provide workers with health insurance that includes treatment for substance abuse and mental health treatment.
  • Encourage alternative treatment options like physical therapy and non-addictive anti-inflammatory drugs that can help treat chronic wear-and-tear injuries.
  • Educate employees about how to use prescriptions responsibly.
  • Provide employees with a minimum of two weeks paid sick leave.

Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Seek Compensation for Injured Construction Workers

If you or a loved one has developed an addition to a prescription opioid after a workplace injury, contact the Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. as soon as possible. Construction workers are at risk of serious injuries every day. However, prescription opioids are highly addictive and can lead to fatal overdoses. We will protect your rights and seek the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-531-9780 or contact us online.

Our attorneys are proud to provide the highest quality legal service and exceptional representation to injured workers throughout South Carolina, including the areas of Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.

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