How to protect yourself when you need prescription pain meds at work

Maybe you’re an employee that operates heavy equipment. You’ve also been diagnosed with a long-term auto-immune disease that causes chronic pain.

Chronic pain from your disease keeps you awake at night, sometimes all night. You can’t run the risk of being sleepy on your job. One misstep with the heavy equipment you drive, and someone else’s life is on the line. Most certainly your job is on the line!

Thankfully, your doctor realizes managing your disease requires sending you to a pain management doctor, too.

Together you discuss the options ahead of you. You discuss your job with the pain management doctor, and he still prescribes an opiod pain medicine in addition to other meds needed to fight inflammation in your body. It’s long-lasting pain relief, but you only take it before bedtime.

Your pain management doctor goes the extra mile and writes a note of explanation for your boss.

Yes, you are on opioids. But, yes, your dose is also carefully managed to allow you to safely do your job without creating the risk of a work-related accident. Both you and your doctor are trying to be responsible!

You breathe a sigh of relief because getting a good night’s sleep is a MUST.  You just want to function like a normal human being, right? But, you don’t want to lose your job!

Now for a conversation with your department manager or boss. What DO you say? Should you say anything?

You know random drug testing is always lurking!

You know you will fail the drug test at work even though your pain managment doctor has carefully prescribed what you need to function safely on the job.

Here’s where the rubber meets the road.  Prescription pain medicines are a hotly-debated topic, especially in the workplace. In fact, many companies are struggling to come up with a fair and safe workplace drug policy.  Some simply opt for a “drug-free workplace” which leaves no room for those who struggle with chronic illness and pain!

http://www.safetynewsalert.com/prescribed-drugs-what-can-companies-do-about-this-safety-hazard/

Interestingly enough, the state of Missouri does not legislate workplace drug testing for private employers.

This actually means that your workplace in Missouri is not prevented from running random drug tests. However, they cannot violate the Americans with Disabilites Act.

If you are able to legitimately claim a disability,  testing  positive for certain prescription drugs, even opioids, cannot be held against you.  ( Please note: in Missouri, this would not include medical marijuana.)

This is good news for the disabled who truly need their medicines to function!

What if you haven’t yet qualified for disability?

Many of those who suffer from extreme chronic pain still fall into this category.  And yet, you also need those pain meds to function!

In this case, an ounce of prevention may be worth a pound of cure. The best place to start would be a discussion with an experienced Missouri criminal defense  and workers’ compensation lawyer.

Since testing positive for opioids in  “drug-free workplace” can require entering a drug-rehab program,  a reduction in workers’ compensation benefits, or even the loss of your job you need sound legal advice from a criminal defense lawyer. You don’t want to be charged with a crime you never intended to commit!

Missouri’s drug-testing laws in the workplace can be confusing! If you deal with chronic pain and prescription meds, you need to know your legal rights and put a plan in place to protect your job.

You will find the Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC, to be both compassionate and aggressive defenders of the everyday employee.   Call for a free initial consultation today at 636-244-3737. Get your questions answered!

This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

 

 

3 ways to avoid a work-related accident…

A family friend loves to circle the children around him, especially when he meets new people.  It’s story-time!

He flashes his hand with the stubby thumb  and says, “Guess what I ate for lunch?” The littlest ones eyes grow big,  while the older ones give “Bob” a knowing stare.  There’s more to this story — can’t fool the tweens!

After all,  if you only have a stump of a thumb left, you might as well milk it for all its worth.  Gotta make some lemonade with that lemon. “Bob’s” thumb is not going to grow back!

While “Bob’s” accident was related to a home-improvement project on his own property,  many other work-related accidents occur in the U.S. each year. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics for 2015,  some manufacturing businesses were listed as having the highest numbers of work-related injuries.  https://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/osh/os/ostb4741.pdf

We’ve come a long ways since the horrors of the 1911 Triangle Factory (clothing manufacturer) fire in Manhatten. Workers were locked inside this high-rise building to prevent theft.  As the fire spread,  most of the young women factory workers jumped out of the windows to their death rather than being burned alive.

Safety and concern for human life seem to be hard-earned lessons for the human race!

With careful thought and planning,  most companies in the U.S. today work hard to provide a safe working environment for their employees.

Still, almost any job has work-related hazards. You could even trip and fall over poorly installed computer wires!
I spent a summer working in a country store deli as kitchen help. Since I was just over 18, I had the joy and privilege of running the giant electric meat slicer!

I was duly warned about the dangers and given training on equipment safety techniques. Still, every time I was sent to slice I breathed a sigh of relief when the job was done.  I really enjoy using both of my thumbs to this day. (Sorry,  “Bob”.)

Based on what I learned to safely operate the meat slicer, here are a few basic work safety tips for every job requiring  the use of tools.

1.) Don’t let co-workers distract you while you work with tools!

Yep! Your fellow man can be both your greatest help and your biggest liability! Talking with your co-worker about weekend plans while running a potentially dangerous tool is a seriously bad idea. It’s like texting and driving.  Just don’t  do it!

2.) Write a list of basic safety procedures needed to do your job if your company doesn’t already provide one!

Refresh your memory often.  Take your list to work if need be.  Being prepared is so much better than operating blindly! Sometimes  on-the-job safety training is simply inadequate. It’s rushed. You only practice once. You come into work the next day a bit puzzled, trying to remember the right steps in the right order.

Ask questions!  Be a pest. It’s okay.  Safe is better than sorry. That’s what your momma always said, right?

3.) Let your boss know when you are under the weather, or seriously “off your game”.

Obviously I couldn’t run the meat slicer if I was coughing and sneezing — a germ hazard for others, for sure.  However, having a headache and slicing meat is an equally bad idea. If you are not “on your game”,  no boss should want you operating heavy or dangerous equipment.  if they do, well, …

If you or a loved one has been injured on the job even if you are at fault,  you need an experienced workers’ compensation attorney  in your corner to fight for your rights. Work-related injuries can change your life forever!

The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC is licensed to handle workers’ compensation cases both in Missouri and Illinois. You will  receive experienced and aggressive legal help for your work-related injury case. You can find more information here:  http://steimel-law.com/workers-comp.html

The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC wants you to know that  even if you have been denied workers’ compensation, you may still have a personal injury case!  Call for a free consultation at 636-244-3737.

This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.