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Can Legal Substances Create Workplace Hazards?

Many legal substances can still be abused and create hazards in the workplace. Alcohol and caffeine are the most commonly used psychoactive drugs in the United States.

One-in-thirteen adults abuse alcohol, and even more adults engage in reckless alcohol behavior, such as binge drinking. It is never acceptable to show up to work intoxicated or hung-over.

Caffeine and sugar are the most common stimulants and are found in coffee, sodas, and energy drinks and can severely affect job performance. High levels of caffeine or sugar are hazardous and can cause dehydration, increase the risk of heat stroke, and repeated doses can potentially cause a heart attack. It is recommended to limit the amount of caffeine and sugar you ingest, drink water instead.

Prescription medications are another substance that can be abused. It is important to be aware that even their proper use can create the same hazards as other substances, such as altering perception and performance, impairing reaction time and coordination, or inducing drowsiness or hyperactivity. Never assume prescription medications are safe for the workplace, and always alert your supervisor of your prescriptions.

See our Safety Training Materials to help prevent hazardous conditions at your work site.

Return to the Workplace Safety Center