Supervisor Training: Opioids at the Worksite – Return to Work


Every industry in America has been touched by the opioid epidemic, and home building is no exception. Construction workers are among the most susceptible to opioid abuse.

Research shows that both workplace recovery programs, such as those offered via an Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), and steady employment help contribute to people staying in recovery.

There are many things supervisors and business owners can do to help people recover from opioid misuse and get back to work. This toolkit is filled with resources and tools to help you support people in recovery and ease their transition back to work.

The materials consist of a comprehensive downloadable guide (PDF) and a podcast featuring best practices and legal issues arising from the development of a return to work policy (embedded below).

Some strategies for supporting recovery and returning to work include:

  • Developing policies and choosing benefits that support people in recovery, such as
    • flexible leave of absence policies and supportive workers’ compensation (comp) coverage
    • light duty/light work options
    • health benefits that cover comprehensive substance use treatment
    • EAPs
    • compassionate criminal background policies for employees who have experienced drug or alcohol-related arrests or have drug-related criminal records
    • policies and accommodations for people returning to work during active or extended addiction treatment
  • Creating a culture that encourages a healthy and safe environment and eliminates barriers to working while in recovery
  • Reducing stigma and encouraging judgement-free, open, and honest communication about opioid use among workers

This toolkit touches on topics including:

Policies and Benefits Supporting Recovery

  • How Your Worker’s Compensation Benefit Can Help People Recover from Opioid Addiction
  • Employee Assistance Programs as a Support for People with Opioid Use Disorder
  • Choosing a Health Plan that Benefits People in Recovery
  • How Post-Accident/Post-Injury Light Duty Work Can Prevent Opioid Misuse

Creating a Culture Supporting Recovery and Eliminating Stigma

  • Creating a Culture of Recovery Among Your Workers and Subcontractors
  • How You Can Reduce Stigma to Support People in Recovery from Opioid Addiction
  • Setting Up a Worksite Overdose Response (Naloxone) Initiative

This program was developed in conjunction with the Job-Site Safety Institute and Advocates for Human Potential

Return to Work Policies for Workers in Recovery Toolkit