Addiction, drug abuse and overmedication are all complicated problems. When a worker suffers severe injury on the job and then suddenly finds himself dependent on opioid painkillers prescribed to help alleviate his pain, these problems become even more complex. Unlike other individuals who may become dependent on pain medication for various reasons, many workers only come to wrestle these demons after suffering work-related accidents. In then becoming dependent on painkillers, they often find that their workers’ compensation benefits may become jeopardized by the complex situation.
The recent Texas fertilizer plant explosion tragedy has focused the nation's attention on worker safety. It is critical that legislators and worker safety experts seize this moment for the betterment of workers nationwide before memories fade and worker safety is no longer one of the public's top priorities. In particular, it will important for federal officials to focus their attention on the ability of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to prevent work injuries, work accidents generally and occupational illness.
Workers in Minnesota deserve to work in safe environments and have their employers take reasonable steps to ensure their safety. Unfortunately, injuries sometimes occur anyway -- occasionally fatal ones. This appears to be the case in northern Minnesota where a county worker died when some machinery he was using fell into a river.