A 2022 survey reported that 16.5% of construction workers depended on heavy alcohol consumption. Similarly, blue-collar workers have a substance abuse rate that is two times more than the national average. Almost 15% of American construction workers have developed a substance abuse disorder. Most workers depend on alcohol and drugs since it is a high-intensity and physically demanding job. Moreover, they spend long work days through stress and exertion.
Imagine going onsite to your construction project and seeing a few of your workers finding it hard to walk straight. Of course, you will feel scared for them and angry because they were high on the job. They could get hurt due to the presence of heavy equipment and hazardous chemicals on the site. That is why drug testing has become a necessity in this demanding industry. These tests will keep your construction crew safe and ensure efficiency at work.
Why Do You Need to Drug Test Your Construction Crew?
Earlier, there was a stigma attached to drug usage in the industry. It was considered a sign of weakness and lack of morals. Hence, some workers concealed their illegal substance abuse to avoid getting punished or losing their jobs. Did you know that 16.5% of the construction industry has a drug and alcohol abuse issue? That makes them the second-highest users of illegal substances in America. You need to understand that construction drug testing is not about catching drug abusers. Many drug-induced workers lost their lives, got hurt, or hurt their coworkers. As a result, drug testing programs became the new norm to improve workplace safety.
Drug testing prevents incidents from happening, improves reputation, and reduces costs. Moreover, your clients will appreciate this step, and your workers will steer clear of substance abuse. Your company will also get a 5% to 10% discount on the Workers’ Compensation for implementing these programs. According to Health Street, companies should employ the help of SAMHSA-certified laboratories for comprehensive drug testing results. This way, employers can hire talent fearlessly. Drug testing also reduces administrative burdens.
3 Drug Testing Methods
There are various drug testing options available in America. For example, alcohol testing determines if a worker is intoxicated or has been drinking in the past. However, the window of detection is very low. You can determine which policy to use and then move forward with implementation.
Mouth swabs are becoming the most common type of drug test in America. It is the most effective policy if conducted within 48 hours of the substance abuse. The policy is non-invasive, and you can instantly get results with minimal training. Hence, you can conduct these tests onsite and send the positive results to the lab for confirmation. Ideally, this policy is impossible to cheat and is cost-effective for your company.
Urine drug testing is a common policy used by various workplaces worldwide. With it, you can get a time-tested and comprehensive screening of your employees. The method can be done onsite and can detect drugs in the system from 7 days ago. Just like saliva testing, this one also comes with instant results, and you need to send the positive ones to the lab. However, this policy is invasive, can be cheated, and needs proper collection facilities. You need to have same-sex drug testers, and “shy bladder” can affect collection.
Hair testing is an uncommon test but is useful during the pre-employment screening phase. It has a longer detection window but can determine drug usage from 90 days prior. This policy does not require same-sex collection and is impossible to cheat. It is an effective method to test someone’s drug history but does not offer instant results. Similarly, you cannot detect drug usage until a week later if you use this method. This expensive drug test cannot be done onsite and requires a trained professional.
How Can You Reduce Drug Use in Your Construction Workers?
As an employer, you can create or maintain a safe environment for your workers. For example, you can start a drug-free program for them. Moreover, drug testing depends on factors like budget and requirements. It can be pre-employment, post-incident, or random. Choose the type that suits your company policy the best. Either way, a comprehensive drug policy is a necessity for every construction company. Hence, you should have a zero-tolerance policy for violators.
Once you have chosen a method, you need to create a formal policy that follows federal and state laws. Moreover, you can offer a drug-free environment by:
- Increasing your worker’s productivity
- Offering financial and emotional support
- Enhancing their morale and letting them know they are not alone
- Focusing on an improved employee health
- Educate your employees about drug abuse
If you do everything correctly, you will see a decrease in accidents and better turnover. Your employees will appreciate the help and benefit from the resources provided.
The Bottom Line
A drug testing program in the construction industry is crucial because it safeguards the workplace from unintentional hazards. As mentioned, this industry ranks 2nd highest among substance abusers in the country. Therefore, drug testing and access to resources can help maintain the reputation of your company. You can use saliva, urine, or hair testing policies. Either way, a positive result will compel you to take serious action against the employee. Moreover, you can create a drug-free environment by educating your employees about the harsh truth about drug abuse. You can also enrich their morale, focus on improving employee health, and offer support.