With heavy machinery to operate and heights to navigate, a cloudy mind is a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, construction workers still abuse alcohol and drugs in high numbers. In response, construction companies have been using drug screening as a way to reduce injuries and cut insurance costs.
Drug and alcohol tests are typically performed before hiring an employee, as a random screening or after certain accidents. The method of testing depends on which illicit substance is being examined.
What are the Benefits of Drug Screening?
Even though there is no Federal law that mandates drug screening in the private sector, it is a policy that can improve work zone safety.
According to a study by Cornell University, construction companies that implemented drug-testing programs experienced a 51 percent reduction in injury incidents. Since as many as 50 percent of workers’ comp cases may be related to substance abuse, construction companies are using drug screening to not only protect their employees but themselves as well.
The benefits of drug and alcohol testing employees include:
- Insurance premium discounts
- Lower workers’ compensation costs
- Increased worker productivity
- Enhanced company reputation and marketability
- Less employee turnover
- Greater opportunity to attract quality employees
The Cons of Drug Testing
1) It can be Costly
Although drug screening may save money in the long run, there is an upfront cost, which can be more difficult for small construction companies to absorb.
The overall expense depends on the frequency of screenings and type of testing (urine, saliva or hair). While most drug screening tests cost less than $50, there is also the added expense of training employees to follow and implement the policy.
2) Possible Privacy Invasion
Sometimes, companies that require drug and alcohol testing receive push-back from their employees. Some workers may believe the tests violate their constitutional rights.
Since the construction industry is risky enough already, why add high-risk behavior to the mix? Implementing drug testing can be an effective way to reduce the dangers associated with the abuse of alcohol and drugs on and off the job.