In television series “Mad Men,” character Don Draper went to work and kept a bottle of alcohol in case he needed a swig. Booze fueled his creativity and he could deliver a winning pitch. Many of his colleagues also drank and smoked weed with swag. This is the way alcohol and other substances were glorified in the celluloid world. However, going by the reports from the recent census, alcohol and drugs in the workplace cause more harm than good.
According to the national census of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, conducted in 2016, there were 5,190 fatal occupational injuries, a dramatic spike from the 4,836 fatalities in 2015. By surpassing the figures available since 2008, the total number of fatal workplace injuries reached its highest level in 2016. Considering the third consecutive increase in the annual workplace fatalities, Loren Sweatt, deputy assistant secretary of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), emphasized upon finding innovative ways to improve workplace safety by working with employers and employees.
Workplaces are increasingly turning into hostile places for employees because of a number of reasons, such as carelessness on the part of the worker, lack of attention and oversight, and increased use of alcohol and drugs. Interestingly, domains and industries that received attention from the OSHA either saw a decline in fatality rates or reached a plateau. However, sectors, such as health care and food services, which received little attention from the workplace safety agencies witnessed a dramatic surge in fatalities.
In yet another interesting revelation, the census report revealed a sharp increase in overdosing accidents. Most of these fatalities arose due to the abuse of alcohol or drugs for nonmedical purposes. According to the report, there was a sharp upturn in overdosing accidents from 165 in 2015 to 217 in 2016, equivalent to a 32 percent increase. Overall, the report pointed out that overdosing accidents have increased by 25 percent on a yearly basis since 2012.
There are no two opinions about the fact that going to work drunk or high on drugs increases the risk of experiencing occupational fatalities or accidents. This is because both drugs and alcohol impair perception, psychomotor abilities and reaction time. While perception is related to the way a person thinks about his or her colleague, reaction time is the time duration between a stimuli and the action. While the above three factors are of not much importance in the jobs of repetitive nature, these are extremely important in occupations that require skill and alacrity, such as neurosurgery or piloting an aircraft.
With 40 percent of work injuries being caused due transportation incidents, the inability to control the vehicle when one is under the influence of drugs increases the risk of fatal accidents.
Alcohol and drugs increase the risks of indulgence in aggressive and provocative behavior. People under the influence of alcohol and drugs are more likely to display rash and risky behavior. An inebriated person is at a higher risk for the simple reason that he or she is more likely to pick up a fight due to impairment of cognition skills and perception. Moreover, alcohol and drugs drown the voice of sanity, and even minor incidents that need to be ignored can take the shape of full-blown crises. This can lead to physical assault, violence or homicide.
With the consistent increase in this horrific trend, it is necessary to implement adequate preventive measures across workplaces. Moreover, adequate training should be provided to both employees and employers to identify the people suffering from alcohol or drug addiction. Instead of alienation, such employees should be provided adequate care and encouraged to undergo treatment.
Misuse of any substance, whether alcohol or drugs, can have serious health consequences. If you or your loved one is grappling with an addiction, contact the 24/7 Recovery Helpline. Our drug addiction help online and alcohol helpline experts can help you find the right treatment programs. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-441-4405 or chat online with our representatives for immediate resolution.