Construction is one of the most important industries. We all depend on it in one form or another, and it touches all of our lives. We trust construction companies to be able to competently erect a building and have all the systems working properly with minimal delays. They have a huge responsibility to people.
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Construction companies are entrusted with the building of multi-million dollar buildings. A mistake by an employee can end up costing a construction company huge amounts of money and irreparable damage to their reputation.
Furthermore, construction is an industry that has a relatively high level of drug abuse associated with it, so it is within a company’s best interests to test its employees.
A survey conducted by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) revealed that the construction industry has some of the highest rates of alcohol and drug abuse.
|Position||Current Illicit Drug Use (%)||Current Heavy Alcohol Use (%)|
|Construction Laborers||12.8 %||19.9 %|
|Construction Supervisors||17.2 %||12.7 %|
|Other Construction Workers||17.3 %||20.6 %|
|Source: US Department of Labor|
What kind of drug testing should construction company perform?
Instant Saliva testing is the preferred method for making sure there are no drugs being done on the job site, as drug use will be immediately detectable in saliva (whereas it could take up to an hour to be detectable in urine). Post accident and reasonable suspicion testing is best done via saliva tests. These tests can also be done basically anywhere and eliminate the need for same-sex observers. They are also basically impossible to cheat.
Random drug testing still primarily consists of urine drug tests. Often, construction companies opt for multi-panel drug tests that test for a high number of drugs, sometimes more than a dozen. This is usually done by the companies in high risk areas to weed out people who abuse lesser known drugs.
Many construction companies have also started testing for synthetic marijuana and so-called bath salts and other synthetic drugs, as the popularity of those drugs increases. Some also test for alcohol for incidents that happen on the job site and some also test for nicotine for medical insurance purposes.
Due to the high accident rates in the construction industry it is vital for management to take necessary steps to implement programs and procedures that will increase construction safety and worker productivity. 40% of construction fatalities involve substance abuse and 71% of union members are in favor of drug testing . While the effects of a drug-related jobsite accident can be catastrophic for individuals and companies, management should realize that drug use among employees can be damaging to moral, productivity, and quality even if it does not result in accidents.
Drug testing construction workers is an effective method for reducing the number of impaired workers on a project site, increasing overall project safety, worker morale, productivity, and profits