Alcohol Abuse: the Number One Abused Substance in the Workplace

Alcohol Abuse: the Number One Abused Substance in the Workplace

Alcohol is the number one abused substance in the work place.  According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2015, 15.1 million adults had alcohol use disorder, but only 6.7% received treatment.  It is estimated that 88,000 people die annually from alcohol-related causes, which makes it the third most preventable cause of death in the United States.  Signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse include, but are not limited to, lack of coordination, fatigue, slowed reaction rate, slurred speech, and dulled mental processes, which can all have detrimental effects in the workplace.  Overuse of alcohol causes an increased risk of liver disease, kidney disease, and many forms of cancer.

During OSHA’s Safe + Sound Week August 12-18, PLH Group subsidiaries will tackle this subject, why should we all be concerned about alcohol abuse by our coworkers?  Performing under the influence of alcohol is not only unsafe for the impaired individual, but for everyone on the jobsite.  Those who abuse alcohol are not only less productive, but use three times as many sick days and are five times more likely to file workers compensation claims.  They are more likely to injure not only themselves, but others around them due to poor decision making and impairment of sensory and motor functions.  Alcohol abuse negatively affects more people than just the abuser, including families, coworkers, and the companies they work for.

OSHA strongly supports efforts to create a drug-free work environment and provides extensive resources to set up substance abuse prevention programs.  If you or someone you know may have alcohol dependence issues, the first step is getting the proper help.  A program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is a free service available during regular working hours and can be contacted via phone at 800-WORKPLACE.

PLH Group is a full service power line construction, pipeline construction and specialty contractor that serves the electric power line, pipeline, oil field electrical and industrial markets, where safety is a value that is ingrained in the way we conduct our business and live our lives.