It’s hard to imagine an industry where the conditions for opioid addiction are quite so perfect as in the building trades. Not only are most construction crews young and male—the demographic most susceptible to problems with substance abuse—but also injury rates are high. Because it’s customary for employees to return to work as soon as possible after getting hurt, there’s a lot of on-the-job opioid use, which leads to more accidents and injuries.
Hoping to put a stop to that vicious cycle, the National Association of Home Builders has collaborated with the nonprofit Job-Site Safety Institute to develop an extensive online anti-opioid tool kit for construction managers.
The training materials include a guide for supervisors, which covers topics such as how to spot signs of opioid abuse at work, how to help employees seek treatment and how to set up a worksite overdose-response (naloxone) program. A detailed case study of a hypothetical worker named Mike offers specific suggestions for action, pinpointing moments where intervention by a manager could prevent or end addiction.
One crucial piece of advice on the NAHB’s web site: The industry needs to change its traditional culture, “from ‘work at all costs’ to safely returning to work after an injury.”