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Drug Watch: Are You Aware?

Are you aware of the consequences you may experience when using some across the counter drugs?  Driving long distances can be boring and some over the counter drugs don’t help the situation.  I know for me the drone of an engine can put me to sleep, although when I am flying that has never been a problem.  Driving on the other hand I have pulled over occasionally to take a nap to get rid of the sleepy feeling without drugs.  But if you are taking some over the counter drugs becoming drowsy can occur much easier.  During the fall many of us depend on across the counter drugs such as antihistamines to help battle allergies.

Benadryl is the trade name for one of the biggest offenders causing people to fall asleep while driving, running equipment, and flying airplanes.  The main ingredient found in many common drugs is diphenhydramine (say the fast three times!) and is sold as an over the counter sedative in PM (night time) pain meds.  During investigations the NTSB has found that this drug is the most common in the bodies of pilots, truckers, and people who have fallen asleep at the yoke or wheel.  The second most common drug found is used for cardiovascular for high-blood pressure and can also cause drowsiness.

Be aware if you are driving vehicles, operating equipment such as cranes, or forklifts for long time periods  where the drone of the engine and vibration can help to relax your mind and body.  If you are taking an over the counter pain or allergy medicine pay attention to your bodies reaction.  In the event of an industrial incident on the job you may be found negligent if you do not let your employer know.  It may be better to step away from the cab instead of continuing to work and could change your life, a co-workers, or the public depending on your ability to use sound judgement.

If you are a PIT Certified Operator (Powered Industrial Truck) you know what my Associate at the Safety Institute Bruce Richardson says, Don’t operate if you cannot stay alert because of sickness or medication.

Be Safe!

Carl Potter, CSP

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