Drug testing is doing more than just weed out miscreants and addicts among workers. Perhaps more importantly, experts say that it is keeping the oil and gas industry safe.

A range of alcohol and drug testing programs being implemented by oil and gas producers and contractors around the city of Grand Prairie in Alberta, Canada has served as a deterrent for heavy drinkers and cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine users from working in oilfields in the area.

Ed Secondiak, president of ECS Safety Services who runs an office in Grand Prairie, shared that local oil and gas producers and contractors use aggressive pre-access, post-incident and reasonable cause drug testing to ensure safety, as they follow a workplace culture that prioritizes safety.

In addition to these practices, Alberta’s oilsands producers and industrial constructors announced a new approach on Thursday that involves a two-year pilot project around random drug testing, called the Drug and Alcohol Risk Reduction Pilot Project (DARRPP).

DARRPP is described by Neil Tidsbury with Construction Labor Relations Alberta as “another tool for when individual employees are struggling with addictions… It’s further impetus for people to seek help before they face a test themselves.”

Through DARRPP, random drug testing at safety sensitive sites will be implemented, commencing late this year, or early 2013. Its goal is to see how this additional deterrent will affect safety performance. In addition, it was explained that DARRPP will focus on rehabilitation, as opposed to termination, for employees who test positive.

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