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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 eating and drinking establishments, commonly restaurants and bars. Employers involved in food service should be aware that alcohol and drug use can be contributing factors in the type and frequency of on-the-job accidents.

Falls are a major problem for workers in this industry. In 2001, there were 125 indemnity claims from falls on the same level and 17 from falls from elevation. This experience in New Mexico mirrors the national statistics. Back injuries from overexertion, lifting objects require attention. Being struck by or against objects are also affecting workers. Other areas of concern are bodily reaction, injuries from being rubbed or abraded and being caught in, under or between machinery. All body parts are affected. Cashiers were ninth and Cooks were number ten on the List of Occupations with the Twenty Highest Newly Reported Indemnity Claims in New Mexico for 2001 with 122 and 117 respectively. Waiters and Waitresses were seventeenth with 73 claims followed by Kitchen Workers, Food Preparation with 68 claims and Miscellaneous Food Preparation Occupations with 67 claims. Young workers/new employees in this industry are particularly at risk and require attention.

The complete 2001 workers' compensation claims analysis for eating/drinking establishments 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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