DOL Highlights Resources for "Recovery-Ready Workplaces"
A new resource hub from the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employment and Training Administration collects information about recovery-ready workplaces for workers and employers. The agency describes recovery-ready workplaces as those that adopt policies and practices intended to reduce the risk of substance use and substance use disorder among workers—for example, through the prevention of occupational injuries—and to facilitate help-seeking among employees with substance use disorders. Such workplaces can also help ensure worker access to services like treatment, recovery support, and mutual aid.
According to DOL, recovery-ready workplace policies can help reduce costs related to turnover, loss in productivity, and injury and accident risk due to substance-related impairment. Resources already available via the hub include information about preventing substance use in the workforce, addressing stigma, and building the business case for recovery-ready workplace policies. Additional resources from unions and trade associations as well as agencies at the federal, state, and local levels are also available. Coming soon is a toolkit that will address the implementation of recovery-ready workplace policies in different settings.
NIOSH describes workplaces as “a critical point of contact for Americans struggling with or recovering from a substance use disorder.” The agency refers to data from the 2018 National Survey of Drug Use and Health—a survey conducted annually by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration—which found that approximately 13.6 million workers, or nearly nine percent of all employed adults, had current alcohol or illicit drug use disorders. According to the 2018 survey, another 13.4 million workers reported that they were in recovery or had recovered from a substance use disorder.
Related: “Confronting Two Crises,” a feature article authored by members of AIHA’s Opioids Working Group and published in the January 2021 Synergist, focuses on how industrial hygienists can contribute to solving the combined crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic and the opioid epidemic. The authors previously presented a session at AIHce EXP 2019 on emergency preparedness and training for workers at risk of exposure to opioids.