NIOSH Addresses Issues Related to Naloxone Availability at Work
NIOSH has published a new fact sheet to help employers and workers decide if they should establish a workplace naloxone availability and use program. Naloxone, a drug used to reverse opioid overdoses, can temporarily stop many of the life-threatening effects of these overdoses.  NIOSH’s fact sheet outlines items that employers should consider when deciding whether a program to make naloxone available in the workplace is needed or feasible. For example, does the state in which the employer is located allow the administration of naloxone by non-licensed providers in the event of an overdose emergency? Does the employer have staff willing to be trained and willing to provide naloxone? Other considerations include how quickly professional emergency response personnel can access a workplace to provide assistance and whether a workplace has already experienced an opioid overdose. NIOSH stresses that anyone at a workplace, including workers, clients, customers, and visitors, is at risk of overdose if they use opioids. According to NIOSH, workplace naloxone availability and use programs should be developed in consultation with safety and health professionals. Employers should also consider the resources needed to implement and maintain such programs. NIOSH urges employers to conduct a risk assessment before implementing a naloxone program to consider liability and other legal issues related to such a program. Employers must train staff, plan to maintain equipment, and be prepared to restock naloxone, other first-aid supplies, and personal protective equipment such as disposable nitrile gloves, responder rescue masks, face shields, or bag valve masks for use in rescue breathing or CPR.  The NIOSH fact sheet is available on the agency's website.