As the opioid epidemic continues to devastate families and communities across the United States, workplaces are also affected. A toolkit developed by the National Safety Council (NSC) is giving employers the resources to educate and empower their employees about the epidemic.
Most people living with a substance use disorder are in the workforce, so employers are well-positioned to help combat the epidemic with strong, comprehensive drug-free workplace programs (DFWPs) that recognize and address the unique challenges of the opioid crisis.
Everything you need
The National Safety Council (NSC) built its Opioids at Work Employer Toolkit to assist workplaces in establishing these programs. The free toolkit includes resources designed to help educate employees, increase access to treatment, build a recovery-friendly workplace, and implement policies to keep workers safe.
For the best results, employers must commit fully to the program and its goals, including gaining and showing support for the program from the highest level down.
Before developing new policies, work with employees to understand their unique needs and specific concerns, which can add critical perspective. For some employees, these policies may challenge deeply ingrained beliefs and practices. Giving employees a chance to voice their concerns to leadership can alleviate doubts and provide employers the opportunity to address them through conversation, leading to policies that are more helpful.
Once developed, engage supervisors, senior managers and other employees as spokespeople for the program, to answer questions and explain the benefits to other workers. While this process may be challenging, putting in this effort can lead to workers not just understanding and accepting new policies, but actively supporting them. Employee buy-in is essential for a DFWP’s success.
Guide to success
The NSC toolkit offers a number of resources designed to guide employers through this process. Tools meant for human resources professionals, supervisors, and safety professionals get into specifics, while a variety of implementation plans can help you schedule the rollout a full year in advance. Easy-to-use educational materials are also included so you can have a safer, more knowledgeable workforce.
This epidemic shows no signs of slowing down on its own but employers have the ability to reach workers, families, and communities to help prevent further opioid misuse, addiction, and overdose, and to help those already affected. No matter your industry or the size of your business, your workplace can make a difference. Be proactive, limit the risks and keep your workers safe. Learn more and get the free toolkit at nsc.org/OpioidsAtWork.