Workplace Safety Video

Drug and Alcohol Use in the Workplace

Substance Dependence in Key Industries

Workplace costs due to alcohol, illicit drugs and prescription opioid were more than $500B in the US in 2017.

Some of the highest rates of alcohol and drug use among full-time workers aged 18 to 64 were found in the construction, mining, manufacturing and transportation industries. 

Table provides statistics on substance dependency in Construction, Mining, Transportation and Manufacturing Industries

From 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (SAMHSA), Monthly data is from the last month of survey

Drugs and alcohol are used across all age groups in the US. Substance use and dependence in the workplace cause lost time from work, increased job turnover and healthcare issues. 

After alcohol, marijuana is the most commonly used drug in the workplace.

More than 80% of regular drug users in the workplace use marijuana and marijuana and alcohol are frequently taken together. 

Full Time Employees Alcohol and Drug Use

Full Time Employees Alcohol and Drug Use

From 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (SAMHSA), Monthly data is from the last month of survey.

* Illicit Drugs include prescription psychotherapeutic, marijuana, cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, or methamphetamine.

Fatigue in the Workplace

Prevalence of Employees Sleep Disorders in Key Industries

Prevalence of Employees Sleep Disorders in Key Industries

From National Safety Council based on rotating shifts in US companies

Fatigue at work is impacted by shift (day, evening, night, and changing shift schedules), travel time to and from work, amount and quality of sleep, activity outside of work, and sleep-related disorders. 

When fatigued employees consume alcohol or drugs like marijuana, impairment can be much greater than fatigue, alcohol or marijuana alone. Employees with sleep disorders like Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Insomnia who consume alcohol and drugs can have a two- to three-fold increase in workplace accidents. 

Drowsy Driving and Accidents

Fatigue while operating vehicles is a major cause of accidents and fatalities. The GHSA (Governors Highway Safety Association) reported more than 300,000 accidents on US roadways with 10% to 20% of large truck and bus crashes involving a tired driver and the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) estimated a cost of more than $100B due to fatigue related accidents.

Effects of Loosing Sleep

Lack of sleep causes impairment similar to alcohol consumption. This is particularly an issue with long haul truck drivers and workers on night shifts, long shifts or irregular shifts. A GHSA study found that 21 hours without sleep was similar to a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) level of 0.08% (DUI limit in US). The study also found that 18 hours without sleep also caused impairment, similar to a BAC level of 0.05% and going 24 hours without sleep was similar to a BAC level of 0.10%.

According to the National Safety Council, more than 43% of workers are sleep-deprived and fatigued worker productivity costs employers $1,200 to $3,100 per employee annually.

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