Group Pushes For Law Requiring Alcohol Testing For Workers

Lever & Ecker, PLLC March 29, 2016 General

Lou Coletti, the head of the Building Trades Employers’ Association, has reported that the group is working with city officials on a law that would make mandatory alcohol testing a requirement for many work sites. The push for this came after an undercover investigation revealed that construction workers from numerous sites were chosen to partake of alcoholic beverages during their lunch break.

The Investigation

The undercover investigation was performed by ABC-7 Eyewitness News. Hidden cameras showed construction
workers from at least four separate companies knocking back shots and beers, often without eating food. They then returned to work, where they used dangerous machinery such as a chainsaw. One man was even in charge of supervising the cranes and the materials being lifted at his construction site.

Many are wondering if this type of behavior has contributed to the increase in construction injuries and fatalities that New York has seen over the last several years. This isn’t the first time that drinking on the job has been noted to be an issue – data has shown that breathalyzer tests detected alcohol in 16% of all workers seen in the emergency room for an injury.

How Alcohol Impairs A Worker

When alcohol is ingested, it suppresses the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate and increases the production of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. What does this mean? It means that thoughts, speech, and physical movements are all slower. This can impact:


Whenever alcohol is consumed and a worker then returns to the job, their slowed reaction times mean that there is an increased risk of accidents that will result in serious injury or death – especially when those workers are using heavy machinery or driving.

Relationships on the Job

Workplace violence causes a surprising number of injuries on the job every year. The ingestion of alcohol can lead to anger and unreasonable behavior that is difficult to control because inhibitions have been lowered.

Lowered Productivity

Slower work performance, memory problems, and disruptions to the workplace leads to a loss of production.

The National Council On Alcoholism and Drug Dependence determined that while any workplace may experience workplace alcoholism, the following industries have the highest number of reported issues:

  • construction
  • mining
  • excavation
  • food service industry

While accidents caused by alcohol consumption are preventable, they still happen with regularity. Those who have been injured by a co-worker’s negligence may be able to obtain compensation for their injuries.

Ways To Recover Compensation

The first way that someone who has been injured on the job may recover compensation for their losses is by filing a claim with their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company. Employers in New York are required to have insurance by law and should be able to provide you with the forms you will need to make the claim. If your employer doesn’t have insurance or refuses to assist you, contact a workers’ compensation attorney immediately.

The problem with workers’ compensation, however, is that even if the claim is approved by the insurance company, the injured employee will never be completely compensated for their losses. Medical expenses and a fraction of lost earnings will be covered. Workers’ comp never provides reimbursement for physical pain and suffering or emotional trauma.

In many instances, it is possible for the victim to pursue legal action against the person whose negligence resulted in their injury. This can be done by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the person responsible. By filing a lawsuit, the victim has the opportunity to recover any compensation for their losses that workers’ compensation didn’t cover.

How Much Is A Personal Injury Lawsuit Worth?

There is no way to determine exactly how much a personal injury lawsuit is worth until the facts of the case have been reviewed – even then, only an estimation can be given.  When consulting with a personal injury attorney, it is a good idea to request examples of the verdicts and favorable settlements they have obtained for clients whose cases are similar to yours.

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