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Some jobs have higher risk of opioid overdose

According to the results of a recent study, workers in construction and extraction jobs are six times more likely to die due to opioid use. Opioid overdose and misuse are typically not seen as work-related issues in Kentucky. However, the study draws a connection from particular jobs to opioid overdose.

For the study, the Department of Public Health in Massachusetts examined 5,580 deaths related to opioids in the state between 2011 and 2015. Researchers found that 1,155 of them were construction-industry fatalities. Other high-risk sectors that also had high rates of opioid overdose include fishing, forestry and farming.

Digging deeper into the data, researchers made findings about the impact of labor segregation, job quality and gender on opioid overdose rates. The jobs with the highest risk of overdose for women were food service and health care support. Employees who were worried about job security and those who did not have paid sick leave were also at higher risk of overdose death. According to the study, these jobs force people to work while they are in pain, increasing reliance on medications.

Dangerous working environments can begin the path to opioid addiction by causing aches and pains or injuries that require medications. Employers in Kentucky have a duty to provide employees with a safe environment in which to work. Workers who are injured on the job might be entitled to get help via the state's workers' compensation system.

In most cases, an injured worker need only demonstrate that their injury was work related. An attorney could help an injured party by drafting and filing a claim for workers' comp. If a claim is denied, an attorney can help with an appeal.

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