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March 27, 2024
Safety council expands efforts to combat overdoses

On March 25, the National Safety Council (NSC) announced it’s ramping up its efforts to combat overdoses in the workplace, launching several new initiatives. These initiatives include free opioid overdose eLearning resources, an online workplace well-being hub, and the availability of bulk online purchasing of Narcan® (naloxone) nasal spray for employers nationwide.

According to the NSC, workplace overdose deaths have greatly increased over the last decade—619% since 2011. And overdoses account for nearly 10% of all workplace fatalities in the United States.

The newly released eLearning course covers the impacts of opioid overdoses in the workplace, signs and symptoms of an overdose, the administration of opioid overdose-reversal medication, and the incorporation of those medications into workplace safety plans. Course participants also receive an introduction to hands-only CPR.

The NSC’s online Workplace Well-being Hub is an interactive resource designed to provide workplaces with education and tools that can be implemented to address the causes of impairment, injuries, and fatalities, starting with substance use. The Hub has four sections: Policies, Benefits, Employee Training, and Data Collection and Analysis. Its resources include customizable policies, guides for collecting and using data, and a benefits checklist to evaluate services provided at the workplace.

The NSC has also formed a partnership with Emergent BioSolutions, the maker of Narcan, to increase access to the overdose-reversal medication by supporting external distribution opportunities. Employers can now purchase the medication on the NSC’s website and have it delivered directly to their workplace. The NSC and Emergent hope that by making opioid overdose-reversal medications more accessible, they can help save lives and prevent tragedies in the workplace.

“By providing essential tools, resources and education, we can empower workplaces to be prepared, resilient and ultimately save lives,” NSC president and CEO Lorraine Martin said in a statement. “We implore employers to join NSC in stocking these medications at all worksites.”

The NSC also welcomed the March 13 announcement of the White House Challenge to Save Lives from Overdose. The White House Challenge calls on stakeholders in the private and public sectors to commit to increasing training on and access to opioid overdose-reversal medications.

The NSC called on employers of all sizes in the private and public sectors to train workers on how to administer opioid overdose-reversal medications so each worker is ready to respond in case of an emergency.

Because overdoses can happen anywhere at any time, workers trained in administering overdose-reversal medications can respond to an overdose at work, at home, and in the community.

Last fall, the NSC launched Respond Ready Workplace, a new workplace safety program, to help employers combat the rise in workplace drug overdoses. The Respond Ready Workplace program includes educational materials raising awareness of the opioid crisis and the importance of naloxone in mitigating the effects of opioids, employee training resources for the proper administration of naloxone, and program guides for employers on obtaining and incorporating overdose medications into their workplace first-aid kits or in accessible locations.

Respond Ready Workplace replaced the NSC’s earlier “Opioids at Work Employer Toolkit.” The NSC is a not-for-profit organization focused on preventing deaths in the home, in the workplace, and on the roadways.

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