How to Address Worker Concerns Regarding Prescriptions

Your doctor wants to prescribe painkillers for your back injury. You are concerned the medicine might affect your ability to drive and your ability to work.

Pose this question to your staff: What can you do? Remind workers to:

  • Review company policy on reporting prescription drug use and other policies related to drugs at your organization
  • Ask a doctor about the drug’s effects and what other options for pain management are available

Next, walk employees through discussion points covered in the free Our Driving Concern Impaired Driving Traffic Safety Huddle lesson plan. Explain what impairment means and the impact on being able to drive safely. Alcohol and drugs (prescription and over-the-counter drugs) can compromise abilities that affect driving, such as decision-making, reaction time, depth perception and coordination.

In a National Safety Council survey, 39% of employers viewed prescription drug use as a threat to safety, and 24% said it is a problem, but 7 in 10 companies reported issues ranging from absenteeism to overdose.

Read: How the Prescription Drug Crisis is Impacting American Employers. Calculate your cost: What is the real cost of substance use in your workforce?

Take steps to educate before you have to enforce policy. Learn how to identify the signs and symptoms of impairment, including alcohol, illicit drugs and prescription drugs in free Drug Impairment Training for Texas Employers (DITTE).

Check our DITTE free resources page for:

  • Prescription Pain Medications: A Fatal Cure for Injured Workers
  • The Proactive Role Employers Can Take: Opioids in the Workplace
  • Drug Testing in the Workplace

The aim of the DITTE program is to assist Texas employers in reducing injuries and fatalities that occur on state roads as a result of impaired driving.

— Lisa Robinson is a senior program manager with the National Safety Council