Construction Liability: Opioid Abuse in the Industry

Construction Liability Opioid Abuse in the IndustryGrowing opioid abuse has been a concern for the entire U.S. workforce. However, the construction and manufacturing industries in particular are at risk for this abuse, leading to risk management strategies to curb Construction Workers Compensation claims.

The reports, titled Construction: Prescription Opioid Abuse and Manufacturing: Prescription Opioid Abuse, gathered data to report the growing need to address the problem. According to Claims Journal, opioid spending was stable between 2009 and 2013, but increased 20 percent in the construction industry by 2014. What’s more, average spending on these drugs is an estimated 5-10 percent higher in the construction industry.

“The opioid abuse epidemic is taking a toll on many aspects of the U.S. economy, including businesses’ workers’ compensation losses.” stated Bill Boyd, senior vice president of Risk Control. “The delay of returning injured employees to work can affect operations and, therefore, negatively impact a company’s bottom line. Opioid abuse is a real and emerging risk for businesses to consider, and through these Risk Outlooks, I hope our customers will learn solutions to avoid return-to-work pitfalls.”

A drastic figure demonstrated that 15.1 percent of construction and 6.5 percent of manufacturing workers have taken part in illegal drug use. Many of these workers have obtained the drugs from a friend or coworker who was prescribed the opioids such as Lortab, Demerol, OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin. The CNA also gathered evidence in order to analyze the average costs of opioid abuse and post-accident spending.

CNA found that the higher probability of opioid abuse in a worker correlated with higher costs incurred when they were injured. “After three years of follow up, claimants flagged for high probability of opioid abuse resulted in 36 percent higher costs compared to claimants who were not flagged for abuse.”

Jim Tatum of Middle Market explained “By partnering with leading construction and manufacturing associations, we have seen increased concern about prescription opioid abuse, as well as how it increases worker injuries and businesses’ losses. Many of these associations are developing programs to educate their members about the issue in order to provide the tools, training and resources they need to address opioid abuse in their own workplaces.”

Protecting employees is essential to your business’ longevity and success. For example, according to Insurance Risk, by protecting the well-being of the employees, the amount of money paid in health insurance benefits, workers’ compensation, and the cost of wages for temporary workers is reduced.

At Tri-State Insurance Agency, we strive to protect the backbone of your construction business-your employees. We understand the inherent risks that are associated with opioid use in the workplace and strive to provide sufficient coverage to protect against the scope of risks your business faces. For more information about our operations, we invite you to contact us today at (888) 990-0526.