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Important Note:

June through November our agency may become prohibited from binding coverage should a “Tropical Disturbance” enter the Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean Sea.

In these cases we may be unable to bind new coverage quoted in open proposals until the storm leaves our area and our binding authority has been restored.

Please arrange your coverage protection early to avoid this type of delay. While we regret any inconvenience, the carriers impose these restrictions on all agencies.

Are OTC and Prescribed Medications Endangering Your Workplace?

Are OTC and Prescribed Medications Endangering Your Workplace?

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, an estimated 8 percent of the U.S. population over the age of 12 has used illegal drugs in the last 30 days. Drug abuse costs employers $81 billion annually, causing increased absenteeism, carelessness and mistakes while decreasing safety and productivity. Given those figures, it’s easy to see why so many of America’s employers test their workers for illicit substances. However, far too few extend their caution to OTC and prescription medications. These drugs—while legal—can be equally dangerous in the workplace.

If you’d like to make sure your workers are using legal medications safely, you may want to include prescription and OTC medication use guidelines as part of your workplace safety program. Topics to address include:

Reading labels – If your employees are taking an OTC or prescription drug, they must read the label carefully. They should understand how the medication may potentially affect them, and look for warnings related to operating machinery and drowsiness or dizziness side effects. If the drug could affect their ability to perform work safely, they should notify a supervisor to discuss alternate assignments.

Testing prescriptions – Whenever a doctor prescribes a new drug for an employee, he or she should take the first dose at home, not at the workplace. Medications can cause different effects in different people—those listed on the label may not apply to everyone. The same goes for OTC drugs. Your workers should have a good understanding of how it will affect them before they take it on the job.

Avoiding interactions – Whenever an employee takes multiple medications in conjunction, drug interactions become a danger. Your workers should speak to their doctor or pharmacist before they take multiple medications or combine medications with herbal supplements. If effects that may impact their work performance are likely, they should seek alternatives or advise a supervisor.

Consider work conditions – Temperature and other factors can amplify the side effects of any particular medication. For example, if an OTC cold medication causes drowsiness, that drowsiness is likely to be more extreme if the employee has to work in heated conditions where sweating is common. If a prescription drug can cause headaches, it’s more likely to do so if the employee works in a fast-paced environment. Consider actual conditions when evaluating the safety of any prescription or OTC drug in the workplace.

By some calculations, nearly 70 percent of Americans take at least one prescription medication. More than 50 percent take at least two. These include antibiotics, antidepressants and opioid painkillers as well as medications for chronic medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis. Don’t let the use of prescription and OTC medication endanger your workforce. Contact us today for further assistance with addressing these issues in your workplace safety program.