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How Alcohol & Drug Abuse Affect Construction Site Safety

20 Feb 2019

Construction sites are dangerous under even the best circumstances. According to statistics, the construction industry accounts for about 18% of all workplace fatalities. As a result, construction workers need to always be on guard.

Adding alcohol or drug abuse into the mix is a recipe for disaster. Not only are impaired workers more likely to injure themselves, but they can endanger those around them, including innocent bystanders. If you have been injured in a construction accident, you should meet with a New York City construction accidents attorney for a free consultation.

Substance Abuse Rates Are High

Some people might be startled to learn that 10-15% of construction workers have admitted to using illicit drugs, whereas 18% have admitted to heavy consumption of alcohol.

These statistics should not be entirely surprising. Most construction workers are young and male, and these are two of the primary risk factors for drug and alcohol abuse. Indeed, reported drug and alcohol abuse is higher among those male workers aged 18-49, with 21% admitting to using illegal drugs in the past year.

As a result of these facts, many employers require drug and alcohol testing. However, a sufficient testing regime is often not cost-effective, especially for small employers, so it is hard to identify workers with a substance abuse problem.

Impaired Workers Threaten the Safety of Others

Some who is impaired by drugs or alcohol is at an increased risk of the following:

  • Engaging in risky behavior.
  • Being careless or mindless and committing safety lapses.
  • Lacking sufficient balance, coordination, or dexterity.
  • Having impaired vision or hearing.
  • Becoming violent and attacking another worker or even a member of the public.
  • Being unable to communicate properly or being unable to understand direction and safety instructions.

As a result, impaired workers are at risk of falling, dropping material, improperly using electrical equipment, and making other mistakes that can harm themselves and those around the job site.

Protecting Yourself

If you notice that a coworker is impaired, you should take immediate steps to protect yourself, such as:

  • Notify a supervisor or the head contractor. An impaired worker should be sent home before they hurt someone.
  • Try to avoid working near the employee.
  • Provide immediate medical care to anyone who is injured in an accident.

Your employer should take safety precautions. After all, they open themselves up to the possibility of a lawsuit if their drunk or high employee injures the public or does poor work, endangering the entire construction project. Total financial losses due to impaired workers could reach billions of dollars.

Injured Victims Should Contact an NYC Construction Accident Attorney

Jobsite injuries leave construction workers with high medical bills and no way to pay them. If you have been injured, we can help.

The law firm Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman has a collective 80 years’ experience in this area of law. Our New York City construction accidents lawyers have helped injured employees sue for full compensation for their economic and non-economic losses, including lost wages and pain and suffering. Please reach out to us today. You can schedule a free consultation by calling 212-285-3300 or by reaching our through our online contact form.

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