Drugs and Sexual Assault: What You Should Know

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Although there are many substances that can cause you to pass out or lose control, certain drugs – like GHB, Rohypnol, ketamine, and Ecstasy – are referred to as “sexual assault” drugs because sexual predators often use them to get control over their victims. Learn more about these drugs.

Drugged Driving—What You Should Know

Blurred nighttime road from perspective of a drugged driver

In 2016, 44 percent of drivers in fatal car crashes (with known results) tested positive for drugs, according to the recent report entitled “Drug-Impaired Driving: Marijuana and Opioids Raise Critical Issues for States” by the Governors Highway Safety Association. This is up from 28 percent in 2006. See a graphic from the report below for more information about drugged driving and marijuana and opioids.

 

graphic from GHSA report

“Drug-Impaired Driving: Marijuana and Opioids Raise Critical Issues for States”  by the Governors Highway Safety Association

 

More “Drugged Driving” Facts

What is drug-impaired driving? Driving under the influence of over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, marijuana, or illegal drugs.

How common is drug-impaired driving?  In 2017, 12.8 million people (ages 16 and older) drove after using illicit drugs. (2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables)

man with pills behind the wheelWhy is drug-impaired driving dangerous? Over-the-counter (OTC) medications and drugs affect the brain and can alter perception, mental processes, attention, balance, coordination, reaction time and other abilities required for safe driving. Even small amounts of some drugs can have a serious effect on driving ability.

A recent national survey showed 22.5% of nighttime weekend drivers tested positive for illegal, prescription, or OTC drugs that can impair driving. (Drug-Impaired Driving: A Guide for States, April 2017. NHTSA 2014 Drug-Impaired Driving Survey)

What substances are used the most when driving? After alcohol, marijuana is the most commonly used drug. (Source: National Institute of Drug Abuse)

What happens when you use drugs and drive? Marijuana can decrease a person’s ability to drive a car. It slows reaction time, impairs a driver’s concentration and attention, and reduces hand-eye coordination. It is dangerous to drive after mixing alcohol and marijuana. Driving after using prescription drugs or over-the-counter medicine, such as cough suppressants, antihistamines, sleeping aids, and anti-anxiety medications may impair driving ability.

Check out the graphic below from the National Institute on Drug Abuse about the effects different drugs can have on driving (click to enlarge).

Graphic: Marijuana- slows reaction time and impairs judgement of time and distance; meth or cocaine - aggressive and reckless behaviors; opioids - drowsiness and impaired memory and thinking skills; sedatives (benzodiazepines, barbiturates) - dizziness and drowsiness

Is it legal? Even in states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use, driving while under the influence of marijuana is still illegal. Unfortunately, too many people are misinformed. A study conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) found that a third of all teens believe it is legal to drive under the influence of marijuana. In addition 27 percent of parents believed it was legal.

Not only is driving while high illegal, it’s also very dangerous. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the effects of marijuana can include: altered senses and sense of time, slow reaction time, anxiety, hallucinations and more.

TIP: Parents—tell your teen not to drive after using marijuana or other drugs, and don’t get in a car with a driver who has used marijuana or other drugs!

Remember: Marijuana and many medications act on parts of the brain that can impair driving ability. Many prescription drugs have warning labels against the operation of machinery and driving motor vehicles, for a certain period of time after use. You are more likely to be injured or in an accident while driving while under the influence of marijuana or prescription drugs.

100 Years of the Hard Hat, 100 Years of Safety

Photo by ©Thinkstock

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the invention of the hard hat. The hard hat is one of the most recognizable pieces of safety equipment in the world. Hard hats were first worn by construction workers beginning in the 1920s. Over the years, hard hats have come to symbolize the strength of the construction industry and its workers.

Hard hats are designed to protect workers from head injuries due to falling objects or overhead hazards by reducing the intensity and distributing the pressure of impacts to the head. The E.D. Bullard Company, in San Francisco, California, was the first manufacturer to develop and sell hard hats that were used by some miners and laborers. At the time, Bullard referred to their product as the “Hard Boiled®” hat. In the early 1930s, electricians in Boston, Massachusetts, also began wearing hard hats. By the mid-1930s, construction of the Golden Gate Bridge began, and all workers were expected to wear hard hats [Carpenter et al. 2019].

During the ensuing 40 years, hard hats of various shapes and materials reached the market. These included hard hats made of steel, aluminum, canvas and resin, Bakelite®, and fiberglass. In each case, these hats were advertised as light, resilient, and cool while protecting the worker. In the 1960s, hard hats made of plastics such as polyethylene were sold. In the 1970s, when OSHA and NIOSH were created under the OSH Act, the use of hard hats was regulated as part of the head protection standard, and hard hat use significantly expanded [OSHA 2019]. As demand increased, more manufacturers produced hard hats, including MSA, Honeywell, 3M, and Kask [Rosenberg et al. 2010].

The hard hat has a rich history, but its design has remained fairly consistent over the decades, including a suspension system and outer shell. In recent years, safety helmets, similar to those worn in mountain climbing or ice hockey, have begun to be used on some construction sites to improve worker protections beyond that provided by the traditional hard hat. NIOSH is studying the performance and design of hard hats and safety helmets to improve overall personal protection with the hope of potentially reducing the likelihood of traumatic brain injury caused by falls and to save lives [Konda et al. 2016; Wu et al. 2017]. NIOSH researchers are also working to improve consensus standards that address hard hat performance.

OSHA issued a temporary enforcement policy for crane operator certifications from Crane Institute Certification.

WASHINGTON, DC – To avoid industry confusion and potential disruptions of construction crane projects, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued an enforcement policy for crane operator certifications issued by Crane Institute Certification (CIC). OSHA requires crane operators engaged in construction activity to be certified by an entity accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency. CIC no longer holds such accreditation.

The policy explains that, although CIC-issued certifications are not compliant with OSHA’s operator certification requirement, OSHA does not intend to cite employers for operating equipment that violates that requirement if their operators, in good faith, obtained CIC-issued certifications prior to December 2, 2019, with the belief the certifications met the standard’s requirements. Until further notice, OSHA will not accept CIC certifications – including re-certifications – issued on or after December 2, 2019.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

MSHA Fatality #21

METAL/NONMETAL MINE FATALITY – While spotting for a dump truck, a contractor stepped directly into the path of a bulldozer and died at the scene on November 16, 2019.

Fatality on November 16, 2019 scene of the fatality accident
Best Practices: 
  1. Safety first. Before starting work, establish and discuss safe work procedures. Identify and control all hazards associated with the work and properly protect workers.
  2. Know where people are. Be aware of body positioning around equipment, traffic patterns, dump sites, and haul roads.
  3. Train miners and contractors on traffic controls, mobile equipment patterns, and other site-specific hazards.
  4. Stay alert. Do not place yourself in harm’s way.
  5. Communicate with mobile equipment operators and ensure they acknowledge your presence.
  6. Ensure travelways are clear before moving a vehicle or mobile equipment.
  7. Look behind you. Install “rear viewing” cameras or other collision warning systems on mobile equipment. When backing up, look over your shoulder to eliminate blind spots. When using mirrors, use all available mirrors.
  8. Wear reflective material while working around mobile equipment. Use flags, visible to equipment operators, to make miners and smaller vehicles more visible.
Additional Information:

This is the 21st fatality reported in 2019, and the fifth fatality classified as “Machinery.”

Of all professions, construction workers most likely to use opioids and cocaine

Construction workers are more likely use cocaine and misuse prescription opioids, according to a study  by the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research at NYU College of Global Public Health. These workers are also the second most likely to use marijuana.

Researchers looked at data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health between 2005 and 2014.

“It makes sense that we see higher rates of construction workers using pain-relieving substances such as opioids and marijuana, given the labor-intensive nature of their work and high rates of injuries,” said Danielle Ompad, the study’s lead author. Read more.

MSHA Fatality #20

METAL/NONMETAL MINE FATALITY – A mobile maintenance mechanic was driving on the pit haulage road when the service truck he was operating left the road, hit a berm, and flipped onto its side, ejecting the miner. The miner died at the scene on November 5, 2019.

Accident scene of ejected miner
Best Practices:
  1. Always wear seat belts when operating mobile equipment.
  2. Maintain control and stay alert when operating mobile equipment.
  3. Conduct adequate pre-operational checks and correct any safety defects before operating mobile equipment.
Additional Information:

This is the 20th fatality reported in 2019, and the seventh fatality classified as “Powered Haulage.”