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Wisconsin business group focuses on opioid use at work

Workers have always taken risks to earn for themselves and build careers. One risk that is especially visible on construction crews or industrial worksites is related to the trust that co-workers must have for each other. Another person's mistake or negligence could result in serious injury or death on the job.

Workers' compensation insurance carriers are concerned about the growing role of opioids in American communities, including in Wisconsin. A study on drug abuse shows that almost 25 percent of workers in the United States admitted working while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs. Many employers in the Badger State are, in fact, still looking for workers as Wisconsin's drug test fail rate is at its highest level in more than 10 years.

This trend has not been met by a serious increase in corporate attention to drug use. Only 28 percent of U.S. companies offer any sort of workplace training regarding opioid use and abuse. The largest business group in Wisconsin is answering the challenge with a substance abuse section at the next annual meeting of the state's safety council.

Injuries on the job may be a specific person's fault, but the employer or operator of a worksite is often liable for compensation or damages that may help with recovery. This is independent of any criminal charges or violations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Workers' compensation should always be available to people who were hurt in a workplace accident.

Workers who need help claiming workers' compensation benefits may retain legal representation to work with employers and carriers. A lawyer can make workers feel supported at some of the hardest times at a job.

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