Home » Construction Opioid Awareness Week to feature new videos

Construction Opioid Awareness Week to feature new videos

by Chris Martin
Opioid awareness among the construction industry

Opioid Awareness Week is being planned for 2021. Mark your calendars to participate in Construction Opioid Awareness Week from July 26 to July 30.

Industry associations and safety advocates have joined together to create a series of videos about the complex problem that unfortunately has touched a disproportionate number of Pennsylvania construction employees and their families.

“Construction trades have been hit particularly hard by substance use, with nearly 1 in 5 workers (19%) reporting a substance use disorder,” said Rachael Cooper, Senior Program Manager and Opioid Subject Matter Expert at the National Safety Council.

Impaired workers cannot work safely, and their presence can impact the culture of the workforce, Cooper said. Each worker with a substance abuse disorder costs their employer roughly $8,500.

As in the past, the industry has asked the Pennsylvania Legislature to approve a resolution recognizing Construction Opioid Awareness Week.

Opioid awareness week supported by the KCA in Pennsylvania.

Each worker with a substance abuse disorder costs their employer roughly $8,500.

The resolution has bipartisan support and is planned to be introduced by Sen. John Kane, a union plumber representing parts of Chester and Delaware counties; Sen. Camera Bartolotta representing Greene County and parts of Beaver and Washington counties; and Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione, representing part of Philadelphia.

“The construction industry, which involves physically demanding labor and employs an older workforce, is particularly hard-hit by issues related to opioid and prescription drug abuse,” they wrote in a legislative memo seeking support for the resolution.

The videos will give construction employers an opportunity to share that message directly with their employees in a powerful fashion.

Safety directors, union training directors and others will deliver toolbox talks about the problem. They will be released throughout July to the industry’s trade associations and labor unions for them to release to their members.

“The main ideas are to educate and raise awareness, and also to ensure that people learn about resources available,” Cooper said.

“Opioid use and overdose is a complex topic. We can talk about stigma, prescribing, pain, addiction, treatment, recovery, share personal stories,” she said. “The videos will give all of that and more. People can choose to listen to and learn from a wide variety of speakers who will talk about different facets of the overdose crisis. Different topics will resonate or be important for different people.”

The organizations that are participating in and providing support for the videos: National Utility Contractors Association Pennsylvania, Wanner Associates, Pennsylvania Builders Exchange, National Safety Council, Architectural Glass & Metal Association, General Building Contractors Association, Keystone Contractors Association, Master Builders’ Association of Western Pennsylvania, Western Pennsylvania Chapter – National Electrical Contractors Association, Ironworker Employers Association of Western Pennsylvania, Laborers International Union of North America – Mid-Atlantic Regional Organizing Coalition, American Contractors Insurance Group, Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, Pennsylvania Building & Construction Trades Council.

The legislative resolution marking Construction Opioid Awareness Week is supported by: Keystone Contractors Association, National Safety Council, Pennsylvania Building & Construction Trades Council, Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, Laborers International Union of North America – Pennsylvania Council, National Utility Contractors Association Pennsylvania, Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association – Pennsylvania Chapter, Pennsylvania Builders Exchange, Architectural Glass & Metal Association, Ironworker Employers Association of Western Pennsylvania, General Building Contractors Association, Master Builders’ Association of Western Pennsylvania, National Electrical Contractors Association Western Pennsylvania Chapter, Mechanical Contractors Association of America – Pennsylvania Chapters and American Subcontractors Association of Central Pennsylvania.

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