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General Building Contractors

Alcohol & Your Bottom Line

On-the-job accidents and injuries related to alcohol or drug use can be a significant source of revenue loss to employers. In New Mexico, the Workers Compensation Act states that compensenation claims filed for on-the-job injuries resulting from accidents in which drugs and alcohol are involved will not be paid. As a result, many on-the-job accidents related to alcohol are likely to be unreported or uninvestigated, and statistical information on the exact cost to employers of alcohol and drug-related accidents is unavailable.

However, several studies have shown that employees in certain specific industries are at a higher risk for on-the-job alcohol and drug use than others. Among these industries are those businesses engaged in general building construction services. Employers involved in general contracting should be aware that alcohol and drug use can be contributing factors in the type and frequency of on-the-job accidents.

According to an analysis of all New Mexico workers' compensation claims filed in 2001 for business SIC code 15, "General Building Contractors," falls from elevation were responsible for 50 claims and falls on the same level accounted for another 15 claims. Together, falls were involved in more than a quarter of all claims within this industry group. The categories of being struck by or against objects together resulted in 47 claims. Back injuries from overexertion, lifting objects resulted in 39 claims. Other significant claims activity for workers in this industry involved bodily reaction, overexertion/unspecified, overexertion/wielding and being caught in, under or between (machines/objects).

Parts of body most involved were the back (55); knees (25); fingers (24) and multiple body parts with 23. Although not industry-specific, it is important to note that Truck Drivers were number two on the List of Occupations with the Twenty Highest Newly Reported Indemnity Claims in New Mexico for 2001 with 278 claims. Helpers, Construction Trades were fifth with 192 claims. Carpenters were sixth with 170 and Construction Laborers seventh with 169. Young workers/new employees significantly populate this industry, are at risk and require attention. Attention is also needed to overcome safety problems presented by multiple languages in use at construction sites throughout the state. We need to consider ways and means to develop a safety language that everyone understands.

The complete 2001 workers' compensation claims analysis for general building contractors can be found below, in addition to other laws, rules and regulations relating to drugs and alcohol in the workplace. If you have any questions about this material, please call us at (505) 881.1084 and a member of our staff will be happy to assist you.

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