Hidden Economics of Drugs in the Workplace (Infographic)

Though the health effects of drugs are devastating, the economic impact of drugs can also prove harmful.

Setting aside the emotional and physical tolls that drugs have on a user, the abuse of drugs–both legal and illicit–have serious financial repercussions in business. Costs associated with drugs–usually related to crime, loss of productivity, absenteeism, and health care–account for about $700 billion annually, according to results from the National Survey on Drug Use & Health.

We’ve created an infographic that highlights the overall costs of substance abuse in the workplace, breaking it down into costs associated with alcohol ($224 billion/year), tobacco ($295 billion/year), and illicit drugs ($193 billion/year).

Additionally, the infographic depicts the industries that see the highest rates of substance use and abuse, including general construction, mining, general manufacturing, transportation and warehouses, and hospitality and food service.

Check out the National Drug-Free Workplace Alliance website for more information and statistics regarding the impact of drugs in the workplace.

To talk to an Occupational Safety and Health expert about crafting a Drug Free Program or Policy for your workplace, contact SCT at 1-800-204-1729, or contact us via the electronic form below.



SCT Recognizes National Drug-Free Work Week

This week marks the 11th annual recognition of National Drug-Free Work Week.

Started by the U.S. Department of Labor as a way to improve safety and health in the construction industry, National Drug-Free Work Week now highlights the importance of keeping substances out of all workplaces and encourages workers with a drug or alcohol problem to seek help.

According to the latest statistics from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which uses data from 2008 to 2012,  an annual average of 8.7% of full-time workers aged 18 to 64 used alcohol heavily in the past month, 8.6% used illicit drugs in the past month, and 9.5% were dependent on or abused alcohol or illicit drugs in the past year.

Mining (17.5 percent)  and construction (16.5 percent) saw the highest rates of past month heavy alcohol use, while the food services industry had the highest past month rate of illicit drug use.

In Ohio, home to our headquarters in Middleburg Heights,  the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation offers premium discounts to companies that participate in its Drug Free Safety Program.

At SCT, our Occupational Health experts have decades of experience in guiding companies through the requirements of the Ohio BWC’s drug free program. The deadline for companies to complete all drug testing, training and reporting is approaching at the end of March. The final application is due at the end of May.

Having a Drug Free Safety Program brings many additional benefits to a business, including fewer workplace accidents and injuries, reduced absenteeism and employee turnover, and increased productivity.

Watch our video below to learn more about how we can help your company can encourage employees to live healthy lives while also improving your bottom line.

To get your Drug Free Safety Program started, contact SCT today online or call us at 440-449-6000. Our experts are ready to help you reach all of your safety goals.

And did we mention that flu shots are in stock? Learn more by clicking here. 

OSHA construction silica enforcement is SATURDAY!

Heads up construction companies, OSHA’s silica enforcement starts on Saturday, September 23, 2017!

SCT’s staff of occupational safety and health experts has the training and skills to help your company transition into this new standard.

During his time working for OSHA, Mr. Bielema helped develop the new silica standard. Mr. Bielema’s most recent position with OSHA was as Area Director for the Peoria, IL, office. The new rule went into effect in June 2016, but the enforcement date was delayed to allow for companies to align their programs and policies with the new standard and conduct necessary updated training.

Mr. Bielema has developed a brand new training course for SCT that will bring you and your employees up to speed on the new regulations. Watch our conversation with Mr. Bielema to find out more details about who is impacted by the new rule, what you need to do to become OSHA compliant, and how to best protect your employees.

Need to update your silica training? Call the safety experts at SCT at 1-800-204-1729, or contact us through our online contact page!

NIOSH Software Helps Protect Emergency Responders

With Hurricane Harvey devastating Texas last month and now Hurricane Irma causing major damage in Florida, thousands of first responders and volunteers have been helping save lives across the region.

To help manage these emergency responders, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has created the ERHMS Info Manager software. Organizations can use the software to implement the Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance framework.

This framework is designed to protect emergency responders through pre-deployment, deployment, and post-deployment activities. In short, the goal of this medical monitoring and surveillance is to identify risks early on in an emergency in order to prevent injuries (both physical and psychological) to emergency responders.

“The nation depends on more than 3 million emergency response workers who are trained and prepared to respond to disasters and other emergencies where they often face hazardous conditions,” NIOSH Director John Howard said in a press release according to Safety and Health Magazine. “ERHMS Info Manager streamlines the important task of response worker health monitoring and surveillance, saving organizations time while ensuring the health and safety of emergency responders.”

With this software, emergency response managers are able to:

  • create profiles for each responder
  • record incidents and map their locations
  • assign responders to specific incidents
  • design forms or surveys, and then analyze the responses

The software streamlines many parts of large-scale emergency response including data collection, analysis, and reporting. According to NIOSH, the program increases the speed and ease of “identifying causes, determining risk factors, and implementing interventions for managers of emergency responders.

The software can be downloaded for free at NIOSH’s website.

SCT hires EHS executive to grow domestic, international presence

Middleburg Heights, Ohio – After expanding its Midwest presence with a Chicago office earlier this year, Safety Controls Technology, Inc. (SCT) is branching out to the East Coast.

SCT is proud to welcome James Joyce as Senior Vice President of Global EHS Services. He will be based out of Boston, Massachusetts, but will be enhancing SCT’s services both domestically and internationally. Mr. Joyce will add his unique and dynamic skill set to SCT’s already strong leadership team to assist in business planning, training and developing the skills of SCT employees.

“Jim adds a global, corporate perspective to our company that we really need with our business expansions,” said Rob Medlock, SCT Senior Vice President of General Industry. “We are all looking forward to benefitting from his knowledge and ability to interact with business at any level.”

Mr. Joyce brings decades of occupational and environmental health experience to the team at SCT, including years leading Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) teams for multi-billion dollar businesses.

“I view this as a new, different, and exciting challenge,” Mr. Joyce said. “I’m really passionate about workplace safety and environmental compliance. I’m here to help SCT and our customers in any way I can.”

Most recently, Mr. Joyce served as the Vice President of Global Environment, Health and Safety for Owens-Illinois Global, a $7.5 billion enterprise and a Fortune 500 Company. In that role, Mr. Joyce developed the global EHS leadership team that covered 27,000 employees at 79 factories in 24 countries. His business acumen and leadership led to a reduction of all major measurable safety indicators.

“Jim brings a wealth of international safety and health experience to the table and I look forward to seeing the new opportunities that it will create for our company,” said SCT Vice President of Safety Engineering Services Nick Walters.

Mr. Joyce grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, surrounded by the steel and manufacturing industries that define the region. Manufacturing and industry have been in his blood for generations—his grandfathers worked in the steel and railroad industries and his father worked at General Motors.

From 1976 to 1986, Mr. Joyce worked his way up the ranks at Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel, eventually becoming the general foreman of operations. Mr. Joyce then worked at Bayer Corp. for more than two decades starting in 1986, beginning in technical sales, product management, and mergers and acquisitions.

His transition to EHS began in 1993, when a fire and explosion at one of the company’s newly acquired plants in Boston injured several fire fighters. Following the incident, Mr. Joyce was promoted to lead the plant’s renewed focus on EHS.

“I discovered I really liked the work,” Mr. Joyce said. “It was almost as if EHS found me.”

He developed and implemented a new safety response system that involved employees at all levels. His efforts and safety measures worked. Injuries and other safety-related recordables decreased, and workers at the plant enjoyed a safer and healthier workplace.

“This was an opportunity to fix something that was broken,” Mr. Joyce said.

The system was such a success that he was selected to be Bayer’s Global Director of EHS, and led the new safety response system’s implementation at nine more factories in the U.S., England, Germany and China, where employee health and safety also greatly increased.

In 2012, Mr. Joyce worked independently as an EHS consultant for Norit Americas, Inc. and Owens-Illinois, before joining O-I full time.

SCT is a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) delivering comprehensive occupational safety and health solutions to both the public and private sectors. SCT’s mission is to provide clients with reliable and responsible services that will save costs and create efficiencies without compromising environmental, occupational, and engineering quality.

For all occupational safety & health needs, contact the experts at SCT at 1-800-204-1729.

NIOSH updates ergonomics guide

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has updated its 20-year-old guide to ergonomics to reflect a stronger emphasis on the prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs).

Though the 1997 primer “Elements of Ergonomic Program” remains an active document/reference guide for NIOSH, a new partner webpage increases the focus on WMSDs and the necessary steps employers and workers should take to prevent them and other injuries related to ergonomics.

In 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 31 percent, or 356,910 cases, of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses were caused by musculoskeletal disorders. Of those WMSDs, the median time away from work was 12 days for each affected employee. When compared to the median time away from work from other work-related injuries, which is recorded as 8 days, it is clear that poor ergonomics training and WMSDs cost businesses more than other injuries.

NIOSH’s strengthened ergonomics webpage offers a six-step program designed to help employers identify, implement, evaluate, and maintain ways to better protect workers against WMSDs.

In our July video series, “Safety Hurdles in Health Care,” one of the episodes focused on strains, sprains and other WMSDs often suffered by health care workers. Given the physicality involved in their jobs, workers in hospitals, assisted living facilities and other health care workplaces often face a greater risk of WMSDs. Check out our safety video below.

Ergonomics also comes into play with office workers. Here’s a Safety Minute Update video on 5 tips for better ergonomic posture at the office! Don’t forget to get up, stretch, and walk around during the day. Don’t sit behind a desk for 8 hours straight!

For ergonomics training and all other occupational safety and health needs, contact the safety experts at SCT at 1-800-204-1729.

SCT Community Engagement: SnakeBite Racing places well at Burning River 100

SCT is a proud sponsor of many groups and events in Northeast Ohio. Our community is important to us, and when we can highlight the amazing work and achievements of individuals, especially those within our safety family, we’re happy to give them a shoutout.

Last weekend, the Burning River 100 took place in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. This race features a 100 mile solo event, 50 mile solo event, and 4 and 8 person relay events. It brings in ultrarunners from around the country, is a Western States qualifier, UTMB qualifier, and the 3rd leg of the Midwest Grand Slam of Ultrarunning. SnakeBite Racing had several people participating.

Team Burning Legs, featured in the top photo, completed the 100+ mile course in 19:20:27 placing 12th out of 40 co-ed 8 person relay teams. Pictured in the photo above front row left to right: Pamela Semanik (Summit Freewheelers), Aimee Milward (SnakeBite), Kelly Baker (SnakeBite), Andrea Chisnell (Team Stelleri).  Back row left to right; David Semanik (Team Captain, Summit Freewheelers), Eric Gibb (SnakeBite), Theresa Kushner, Rudy Sroka (Team Lake Effect) lighting the way via mountain bike for his wife and anchor runner Julie Sroka (Team Lake Effect) whose face is partially blocked by Andrea.

“That photo was taken around 1:30 am after Julie crossed the finish line, and we’re all a little delirious,” SCT Senior Field and Research Analyst Kelly Baker said of the photo above.

Kelly Baker, our Senior Research and Field Analyst, has been a member of SnakeBite Racing for six years. At the end of the day, you’ll often see Kelly outfitted in her racing gear headed off to a grueling practice session. And keep in mind that’s after working 8 or more hours on solving safety problems and writing comprehensive reports for her clients.

Kelly, your energy and enthusiasm at work and on the track is a model we should all strive for! Congratulations to you, the Burning Legs relay team, and all members of SnakeBite Racing on your successes last weekend. SCT is proud to be a sponsor!

Additional results from 2017 Burning River 100, SnakeBite Racing Team Members:

100 Mile Solo– Steve McGowan completed the 100 mile solo event and was paced for the last 30 miles by his wife and fellow SnakeBite Racing athlete Pam McGowan

4 Person Relay–  Teammates Mark Durno, Mike Mayer, and Melanie Prohaska-Miller all competed as part of two 4 person relay teams.

8 Person Relay– Aimee Milward, Eric Gibb, Kelly Baker, Jason Fecker, and Jen Borovica all competed on 8 person relay teams.

NSC releases State of Safety report

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The National Safety Council has graded each state in the U.S. in its “The State of Safety” report, and no state received an A grade. Twenty-six states — including Ohio — did not receive a passing grade.

The results are sobering for safety professionals, but the report itself takes a look at three broad areas in which states could improve safety measures to reduce the instances of preventable deaths.

“Preventable deaths in the United States are at an all-time high. There are 40.6 million serious, preventable injuries and over 146,000 fatalities each year, with more than half occurring at home,” according to the report.

The three areas NSC studied include Road Safety, Home and Community Safety, and Workplace Safety. See the table below for a full topic breakdown of each section’s evaluation points.

Topic Weighted Score Breakdown

Road Safety Issues
Alcohol Impaired Driving 16%
Child Passengers 16%
Distracted Driving 20%
Older Drivers 8%
Seat Belts 13%
Speeding 9%
Teen Drivers 12%
Vulnerable Road Users 6%
Total 100%

Home and Community Safety Issues
Drownings 14%
Firearms 20%
Home Fires 17%
Older Adults Falls 16%
Poisonings 19%
Youth Sports-Related Concussions 14%
Total 100%

Workplace Safety Issues
Prevention, Preparedness and Enforcement 50%
Workers’ Compensation 25%
Worker Health and Wellbeing 25%
Total 100%

Here at SCT we put our focus on Workplace Safety and protecting workers on the job. Though still not ideal, our home state of Ohio had Workplace Safety Issues as its highest-rated section in the State of Safety report. Ohio placed 19th out of 51 in Workplace Safety Issues. The 51 is comprised of all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

The state of Illinois, home of our Chicago-area location, came in at 2nd overall and was the highest-ranked state in workplace safety.

Read the complete report here.

View State-by-State results here.

How did your state rank in the NSC’s State of Safety report? Do any findings surprise you?

For all your occupational safety and health needs, contact the experts at SCT at 800-204-1729 or via our website contact form.

SCT gains IDEM approval for Asbestos Training

SCT now adds a new endorsement under its belt: approval for asbestos training by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Classes approved include the initial and refresher Asbestos Awareness Training courses for both asbestos workers and asbestos supervisors.

IDEM’s asbestos program is accredited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is something Ohio’s program does not have. The Ohio Department of Health does offer reciprocity for training programs approved by a USEPA accredited state. SCT is in the process of working on and anticipates gaining Ohio approval in the coming weeks.

Subsequently, SCT will work on obtaining reciprocity recognition or additional approval in states where it conducts regular business, including, but not limited to: California, Illinois, Texas, New York, and New Jersey.

Why do workers need Asbestos Awareness Training?

Workers who will be potentially exposed to asbestos-containing materials (ACM) are required to have training on handling, removing, and disposing of said materials. Workers must also receive training on all necessary personal protective equipment designed to protect them while working with ACM.

As we profiled back in October, which is “Healthy Lung Month,” exposure to asbestos is one of the two most common causes of lung problems amongst American workers. Asbestos exposure can lead to lung cancer, asbestosis, and other severe and chronic respiratory ailments. Symptoms and diseases caused by asbestos exposure may take many years to develop after exposure.

For all your occupational safety and health needs, contact the experts at SCT at 800-204-1729 or through our website contact form.

OSHA electronic reporting to be accepted starting August 1

Starting August 1, 2017, companies eager to get a jumpstart on OSHA’s electronic reporting requirements can submit their completed 2016 OSHA Form 300A through the administration’s Injury Tracking Application (ITA) webpage.

In June 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) notified the business community that it was extending the deadline for submitting the electronic records to December 1, 2017, “to allow affected entities sufficient time to familiarize themselves with the electronic reporting system, and to provide the new administration an opportunity to review the new electronic reporting requirements prior to their implementation.”

In 2016, OSHA–under the previous administration–implemented a new final rule requiring some employers to electronically send injury and illness data directly to the agency, which would be publicly posted on OSHA’s website.

“Since high injury rates are a sign of poor management, no employer wants to be seen publicly as operating a dangerous workplace,” former Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels said in a news release. “Our new reporting requirements will ‘nudge’ employers to prevent worker injuries and illnesses to demonstrate to investors, job seekers, customers and the public that they operate safe and well-managed facilities. Access to injury data will also help OSHA better target our compliance assistance and enforcement resources at establishments where workers are at greatest risk, and enable ‘big data’ researchers to apply their skills to making workplaces safer.”

According to OSHA’s press release announcing the August 1 online availability date, the data submission process involves four steps:

  1. Creating an establishment;
  2. adding 300A summary data;
  3. submitting data to OSHA; and
  4. reviewing the confirmation email.

The secure ITA webpage gives employers three options for data submission:

  1. Users will be able to manually enter data into a web form.
  2. Users will have the ability to upload a CSV file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time.
  3. Users with automated recordkeeping systems to transmit data electronically via an application programming interface.

Visit the ITA webpage for information on reporting requirements, FAQs, and assistance with completing the form.