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Substance Abuse Counselor Safety Training

Substance abuse is unfortunately a widespread problem in America today. Millions of people each day are struggling with addiction to alcohol, drugs, and prescription medication. Below, you’ll find a list of training topics that are required for most Substance Abuse Counselors.

OSHA Required Training

First Aid OSHA Regulation: 1910.266 App B

When OSHA Requires First Aid Training:

In the absence of a nearby hospital or clinic (more than 4 minutes away), a designated employee should be trained to render first aid. See full OSHA regulation for more details.

Training Frequency

Retraining for life threatening emergencies should occur annually. Retraining for non-life-threatening response should occur 'periodically'.

Downloadable First Aid Training Resources (free):

  • Basic First Aid Powerpoint

  • First Aid Poster

  • Printable Wallet-Sized Compliance

  • Handout

First Aid Training Videos (paid):

  • First Aid by Atlantic Training

  • First Aid in Construction Environments by Atlantic Training

  • First Aid: React & Respond AHA by Summit Training

Industry Best-Practice Training
(Not required by OSHA)

Workplace Violence

Training Frequency


Downloadable Workplace Violence Training Resources (free):

  • Workplace Violence Powerpoint

  • Workplace Violence Poster

  • Printable Wallet-Sized Compliance

  • Handout

Workplace Violence Training Videos (paid):

  • Workplace Violence by Atlantic Training

  • Safety Matters: Active Shooter Preparedness by Coastal Training

  • Workplace Violence First Line of Defense by Coastal Training

Drugs & Alcohol

Training Frequency


Downloadable Drugs & Alcohol Training Resources (free):

  • Drugs & Alcohol In The Workplace Powerpoint

  • Drugs & Alcohol Poster

  • Printable Wallet-Sized Compliance

  • Handout

Drugs & Alcohol Training Videos (paid):

  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse for Employees by Atlantic Training

  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse for Managers by Atlantic Training

  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse for Supervisors in CONSTRUCTION by Atlantic Training

Office Safety

Training Frequency


Downloadable Office Safety Training Resources (free):

  • Office Safety Powerpoint

  • Office Safety Poster

  • Printable Wallet-Sized Compliance

  • Handout

Office Safety Training Videos (paid):

  • Office Safety by Atlantic Training

  • Office Safety Basics by Atlantic Training

  • Computer Workstation Safety by Atlantic Training

Injury Risk

  • Very Low
  • Low
  • Moderate
  • HIGH

4.5% (rough approximation based on nursing and residential care facilities -> health care and social assistance industry) 4.5% Annual Injury Rate

Substance Abuse Counselor Safety Tips

Quick Tip

The national Institute on Drug Abuse has found that 23.5 million people will need treatment for a substance abuse problem.

Substance abuse is unfortunately a widespread problem in America today. Millions of people each day are struggling with addiction to alcohol, drugs, and prescription medication. The struggles these people face can be violent both physically and emotionally. As a substance abuse counselor, it is your job to help these people meet their goals of conquering their addiction and returning to a healthier, more productive lifestyle. Because of the volatile nature of this work, there are some basic guidelines that must be followed when working as a counselor to protect yourself and your clients from harm. By keeping these guidelines in mind, you will be preparing yourself to handle any potentially dangerous or harmful situations that might arise while performing this important work.

Basic Safety

  • Know the emergency procedures for your clinic or office. In the even of a fire you might be responsible for getting a large number of people, some of whom might not be in the best frame of mind, to safety.
  • Be familiar with emergency exits. Know exactly where emergency exits are located and practice specific drills with your clients so everyone is aware of exactly what to do.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings. Due to the nature of the issues facing many of your clients, it might not be enough to trust that everyone will follow directions in the event of an emergency. Be cautious and aware of everyone you are responsible for.
  • Learn how to use a fire extinguisher and know exactly where they are located.
  • Keep areas organized and clean. Don’t let any clutter build up in walkways or in front of exits, and in areas where a lot of people are cohabitating make sure and use proper disinfectants to stop the spread of germs.

Watch for Violence

  • Fighting, relapsing, and suicide are all possible scenarios in a drug rehabilitation center. For your safety and the safety of those around you, be constantly reviewing the warning signs of aggressive behavior and look for them every day.
  • Keep dangerous items out of the facility. Hazardous chemicals, sharps, and other items you suspect could be used as a weapon should be properly labeled and kept away from anyone who is unstable.
  • Don’t approach a dangerous situation alone. In the event of a violent outburst, do not try to handle it all on your own. Call for back up in the event that you need to restrain someone.

Care for yourself

  • Take breaks and vacations. This emotionally demanding work is draining and can easily cause fatigue. The more tired and unfocused you are the likely you are to sustain an injury or miss a potential safety hazard.
  • Get plenty of rest. Never come into a demanding job such as this without a good night’s sleep.
  • Mentally prepare yourself for difficult clients. As a counselor, you will be relied upon as a source of strength. Don’t emotionally over exert yourself and consider using counseling as a resource for you as well.

Disclaimer: all information provided on this site is provided for information purposes only. It is not intended as legal or compliance advice and does not represent advice with regard to specific practices or undertakings. Atlantic Training shall not be responsible for any damages including direct, indirect, special, punitive, incidental, exemplary, consequential damages, lost revenues, lost profits, damage to or loss of products, loss of data, or any claims or damages whatsoever, arising out of or in connection with your use of this web site or any linked external sites.