Naloxone Should be In Workplace First Aid Kits

Naloxone Should be In Workplace First Aid Kits

May 6, 2024
Providing access to naloxone and appropriate training can protect workers and possibly save someone's life, says ISEA.

With the FDA's approval of naloxone as an OTC drug, workplaces now have access to a lifesaving tool. and therefore, it should be included in workplace first aid kits, says the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA). ISEA publishes the ANSI/ISEA Z308.1-2021 standard.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 525 people died from overdoses at work in 2022 .

In a March 2024 statement, the White House challenged leaders to increase training and access to opioid overdose reversal medications, keeping the medications in first aid kits, and distributing the medications to employees and customers so they might save a life at home, work, or in their communities.  

This guidance does not appear in the current ANSI/ISEA Z308.1 standard because it was revised before the FDA approved naloxone. While a new update to ANSI/ISEA Z308.1 is planned for 2025, ISEA urges workplaces to add naloxone to their first aid kits now rather than wait for new guidelines. 

"We all have a role to play in addressing the opioid epidemic, including employers," said Cam Mackey,
 CEO of ISEA., in a statement. “Providing access to naloxone and appropriate training at work can protect workers and possibly save someone's life. We encourage all employers to make this change to their first aid kits now.”

The opioid epidemic has a significant impact on the labor market. An estimated 12.6% of the U.S. workforce receives an opioid prescription each year, and 75% of employers surveyed by the National Safety Council report that they have been directly affected by opioids

Some companies and communities are already combatting opioid overdoses by making naloxone available and committing to more training. For example, the Chicago Department of Aviation added Narcan to 96 automated external defibrillator (AED) cabinets at O’Hare International Airport and 32 at Midway International Airport.  Also, state health officials in California have pushed to expand access to the medication, distributing millions of kits for free. 

In opioid overdose emergencies, bystanders are often the first to witness or be in the presence of the person experiencing an overdose.  Individuals should not be reluctant to come to the aid of others out of fear of potential litigation. According to NSC, 49 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws that provide legal protection to individuals who administer naloxone in good faith to someone experiencing an opioid overdose.

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