Washington L&I Tightening Opioid Prescribing for Injured Workers

"We're seeing fewer deaths among injured workers due to pain medication. The new rules are the next step in reducing ineffective and dangerous use of these powerful drugs," said Dr. Gary Franklin, the state department's medical director.

The Washington state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) is holding a public hearing April 23 on its proposed new rules for prescribing opioids to treat the pain of injured workers. The rules would require doctors who prescribe opioids for injured workers for more than six weeks to use best practices that include monitoring whether workers are recovering their ability to perform normal activities.

L&I indicated the change is intended to improve the safety and effectiveness of treatment for pain among injured workers in the state but also noted opioid-related deaths in the United States have exceeded accidental deaths due to motor vehicles and firearms since 2007. Washington has had one of the highest rates of prescription opioid-related deaths among the states.

"Our goal is to provide high-quality care and keep injured workers safe while they are recovering," said Dr. Gary Franklin, L&I's medical director. "We're making progress. We're seeing fewer deaths among injured workers due to pain medication. The new rules are the next step in reducing ineffective and dangerous use of these powerful drugs."

L&I coverage can continue after six weeks when doctors use best practices listed in the rules. The new requirements will not apply to the treatment of acute pain following surgery, within six weeks of injury, or to prescriptions for workers being treated for catastrophic injuries.

The hearing will take place in Tukwila. Written comments may be sent by mail to Jami Lifka, Department of Labor & Industries, PO Box 44321, Olympia, WA 98504-4321; by e-mail to [email protected]; or by fax to 360-902-6315. Comments must be received by 5 p.m. April 23.

Download Center

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • Online Safety Training Buyer's Guide

    Use this handy buyer's guide to learn the basics of selecting online safety training and how to use it at your workplace.

  • COVID Return-to-Work Checklist, Fall 2021

    Use this checklist as an aid to help your organization return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic in a safe and healthy manner.

  • SDS Buyer's Guide

    Learn to make informed decisions while searching for SDS Management Software.

  • Risk Matrix Guide

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Industry Safe

Featured Whitepapers

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - October 2021

    October 2021

    Featuring:

    • TRAINING
      On Route To Safe Material Handling
    • SAFETY CULTURE
      Normalization of Deviations in Performance
    • IH:INDOOR AIR QUALITY
      Arresting Fugitive Dusts
    • PPE:FOOT PROTECTION
      Safety Shoes Make the Outfit for Well-Protected Workers
    View This Issue