In the construction industry, the numbers of injuries and
fatalities caused by falls and transportation incidents often are
reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However,
statistics are sparse regarding the contributing roles drug and
alcohol use play in workplace injuries and fatalities.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports
that in 2005, almost 75 percent of illicit drug users 18 and older
were employed full or part time. In addition, 10 to 20 percent of
workers who suffered a workplace fatality in 2005 tested positive
for alcohol or other drugs. And, not surprisingly, OSHA reports the
industries with the highest rates of drug use among their workers
also are at high risk for occupational injuries, such as
construction and manufacturing.
Although it is difficult to determine accurate values, the
overall cost to U.S. businesses from alcohol or substance abuse
among workers is estimated to be more than $100 billion per year,
according to various sources. Various researchers estimate that
lost productivity, increased medical costs, and other expenses
related to an employee's alcohol or substance abuse can cost a
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