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Drug overdose deaths at work, 2011–2016


Drug overdose fatalities have risen sharply and the impact on US workplaces has not been described. This paper describes US workplace overdose deaths between 2011 and 2016. Drug overdose deaths were identified from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and fatality rates calculated using denominators from the Current Population Survey. Fatality rates were compared among demographic groups and industries. Negative binomial regression was used to analyse trends. Between 2011 and 2016, 760 workplace drug overdoses occurred for a fatality rate of 0.9 per 1 000 000 full-time equivalents (FTEs). Workplace overdose fatality rates significantly increased 24% annually. Workplace overdose fatality rates were highest in transportation and mining industries (3.0 and 2.6 per 1 000 000 FTEs, respectively). One-third of workplace overdose fatalities occurred in workplaces with fewer than 10 employees. Heroin was the single most frequent drug documented in workplace overdose deaths (17%). Workplace overdose deaths were low, but increased considerably over the six-year period. Workplaces are impacted by the national opioid overdose epidemic.

  • overdoses
  • workplace
  • surveillance

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