- May 7, 2019
As part of Gilbane’s Safety Week 2019 activities, we are discussing opioid awareness. Instances of opioid overdose have reached epidemic levels in the United States. In fact, drug overdoses exceed motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of accidental death among all adults and is now the leading cause of death in adults under the age of 50. This public health emergency, made more deadly by the influx of illicitly manufactured fentanyl, knows no bounds; its path of destruction reaches Americans in small New England towns and in the Appalachian foothills, as well as metropolises bordering the Pacific Ocean and municipalities in The South. It’s a national crisis of utmost importance.
The construction industry is disproportionately affected by the opioid epidemic. A recent study conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Public Heath found that construction workers accounted for more than 24 percent of opioid-related deaths and were six times more likely to die of an opioid overdose than the average Massachusetts worker. To combat this reality, and the stigma associated with this addiction, we’ve implemented programs designed to provide aid to workers on our job sites who may experience an opioid overdose, as well as raise awareness among personnel of the signs of overdose and addiction.
Naloxone Rescue Kits in Rhode Island
Our Rhode Island office has entered a memorandum of understanding with the Rhode Island Disaster Medical Assistance Team’s Medical Reserve Corp and its Naloxone and Overdose Prevention Education (NOPE-RI) program to equip all project sites throughout the state with “Naloxone Rescue Kits.”
Naloxone, commonly known as Narcan, reverses the effects of opioids, allowing an individual experiencing an overdose to breathe normally. Given early enough, along with other first aid tactics, Naloxone can reduce the morbidity and mortality related to opioid overdose.
Earlier this year, Gilbane personnel working in Rhode Island were trained by the RI Department of Health in the administration and usage of Naloxone, as well as to recognize the signs and symptoms of a potential overdose. Today, job sites throughout the state are equipped with this life-saving medication.
“In addition to our non-negotiable safety protocols aimed at avoiding injuries all together, we are now focused on educating our teams on the risks associated with opioid prescription pain medications. Working to reduce the stigma of addiction and outfitting our first aid kits with Naloxone can help keep our employees, and those tradespeople who work on our job sites, alive if an overdose does occur on site.”
– Dennis Mullen, safety director for Gilbane’s New England division
Outlined within the memorandum of understanding between Gilbane and NOPE-RI is the agreement between entities to implement the “Naloxone Rescue Kit” program, which equips job sites with the necessary materials and training to successfully utilize the tool should the occasion arise. For their part, NOPE-RI have agreed to provide protocols for treatment and storage of the medication, as well as the proper training and education to allow the program to be successful.
Gilbane Building Company remains committed to the safety of our teams, our job sites, and the communities in which we live, work, and build. By providing Naloxone to aide a job site team member who may experience an opioid overdose while at work, we hope to confront this national crisis head on.
For more information:
Contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or call their confidential national hotline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357).