Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04) introduced the Preventing Impairment in the Workplace Act, legislation authorizing a workplace training program through the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to help employers recognize, respond, and prevent workplace impairment while addressing increased safety concerns. The program will be made available to full time and part-time employees and individuals employed by a State or the Federal Government.
“We owe it to every American to create the safest possible workplace,” said Rep. Owens. “In 2012, 107,600 Americans died from drug overdoses, the highest number ever reported. With our nation’s rise in mental distress and substance abuse disorders, plus a lack of clear safety regulations, 90% of American employers say they are concerned about workplace safety. The Preventing Impairment in the Workplace Act meets this crisis head on with an all-of-the-above strategy by creating a national training program to help employers prevent, recognize, and respond to impairment.”
“Overdoses are at an all-time high and many workers report struggling with anxiety and other mental health issues. It’s so important to create avenues for employers to address these safety risks that are often under-investigated yet pervasive on and off the job,” said Jenny Burke, vice president of impairment practice at the National Safety Council. “We applaud Congressman Burgess Owens’ leadership on this issue. This bill will provide a path for employers to effectively recognize and respond to all types of impairment, which will save lives. NSC stands ready to help implement large-scale workplace training and evidence-based best practices centered on safety.”
The national workplace training program would address:
- The impact of impairment from the use of cannabis, opioids, and other drugs on safety on the job.
- The importance of preventing, recognizing, and responding to impairment.
- The role of various workplace professionals when recognizing and responding to perceived impairment from the use of cannabis, opioids, and other drugs.
- Common signs and symptoms of impairment from the use of cannabis, opioids, and other drugs.
- The steps to respond to perceived impairment and common workplace impairment prevention measures.
- Guidance on related workplace policies and information on relevant laws and regulations.
Full text of the Preventing Impairment in the Workplace Act is available here.