Pain Awareness & Training: Just What the Doctor Ordered


Participate in National Pain Awareness Week (11/2 – 11/8) by ensuring you and your workers understand pain management and medication. Incorporating these topics into your safety training program will benefit and protect everyone. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Ensure workers are trained on –

  • Recognizing hazards, signs, and symptoms of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) & other injuries
  • Reporting a concern in the workplace and/or simply asking for help
  • Workplace policies and procedures that will help reduce or eliminate injury risk
  • Proper equipment operations and procedures
  • How and when to take breaks
  • Ergonomics

Ensure supervisors are trained on –

  • Establishing a response program and commitment to a supportive, open culture
  • MSD prevention
  • Injury and incident reporting procedures
  • Recognizing, identifying, controlling, and eliminating hazards
  • Designing & installing new equipment and corresponding employee training

Once a chronic injury has been sustained, pain medication is sometimes the only option. According to the 2012 Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey, about 410,000 Canadians reported abusing prescription drugs. Health Canada recently removed “moderate” pain from prescription narcotic labels in order to clarify that they are for “severe” pain only. Even with a valid prescription and correct dosages, painkillers can compromise worker safety and the financial security of your business. As Canada celebrates National Addiction Awareness Week beginning on 11/17, please keep in mind these potential pitfalls –

  • Painkillers compromise safety
  • Workers prescribed opioids have significantly higher workers’ compensation claims
  • Employers play an important role in helping their employees seek treatment
  • Use of painkillers can delay recovery and return to work
  • Using painkillers can increase the likelihood of disability claims
  • Strong drug-free workplace programs, comprehensive benefits packages, easily accessible employee assistance programs and company-wide education help reduce risk

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