CONSTRUCTION COMPANIES ON THE RISE – SO IS SUBSTANCE ABUSE
Construction and building is booming in the United States for the most part. This is true in one of the fastest growing areas of our country – Myrtle Beach, SC. Population growth is exploding in South Carolina and much of it is happening in the eastern upstate. With this explosion in growth comes a higher demand for construction workers including heavy equipment operators, tradesmen and laborers. Not only is the demand for these workers getting higher – so are the workers.
“Not only is the demand for these workers getting higher – so are the workers.”
According to a recent report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), the construction industry now has the second highest percentage (14.3%) of drug users on the job. This percentage trails the accommodations and food services industry which is the leader at 16.9% of drug users. The construction industry also comes in second place on the heels of the mining industry when it comes to heavy alcohol use.
According to Tom Jackson, in his story published in Equipment World, “Drugs bring big problems. The Department of Labor says drug and alcohol abuse contribute to up to 65 percent of on-the-job accidents and up to 50 percent of workers’ compensation claims. Substance abusers are absent from work an average of five days a month, are ten times more likely to steal from the company or other employees, use three times the normal level of employee health benefits and incur 300 percent higher medical costs.”
While some companies perform pre-employment drug screening of applicants, very few perform ongoing random drug screening to maintain a substance free workplace. Even fewer companies have comprehensive substance free workplace policies in place to implement such a program and provide protection for the company, its employees and customers. Having an effective policy in place allows a company to perform random testing, post accident testing and reasonable suspicion testing. Testing without a policy in place exposes the company to potential liability and claims of discrimination. Training should also be provided to train supervisors on how to detect, observe and report use and abuse on the job.
Partnering with a professional consultant and company that can assist in setting up and managing a substance free workplace is becoming far more cost effective and beneficial to these extremely busy and fast moving construction companies. Carolina Testing based in Conway, SC is one local, responsive and professional company able to provide a full array of substance free workplace services. Services include simple drug screening services to fully managed services including consulting services, policy creation, program management, employee screening and random program management.