In the past decade, companies in many industries have begun to take a more relaxed approach to drug testing. Some are even doing away with the practice altogether. Companies like Google and NPR openly state that they are no longer testing their employees. 

And for many positions this makes sense, particularly as marijuana is becoming legalized in more and more states across the U.S. In fact, nearly a quarter of Millennials claim that they would pass on a job opportunity if they knew that they would be regularly drug tested. 

But construction isn’t like other industries 

Sitting behind a desk or restocking shelves is one thing, but if you have workers that are going to be operating heavy machinery, you need to be confident that they will be at the top of their game. When someone is sitting behind a computer screen there is a pretty low likelihood that their actions may physically harm another person. However, poor judgement or a careless act on a construction site could have grave effects. 

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, construction has one of the highest rates of drug and alcohol abuse. At more than 15%, this is nearly twice the national average. This is something that you need to be aware of and actively be working to remedy. 

Regular testing has proven benefits

Implementing a drug testing program has shown to substantially reduce the number of workplace incidences: by about 50% over two years’ time. What’s more, you’ll establish and enforce a certain company culture that will help you attract higher quality future employees—and clients. 

Another benefit is that regularly testing can also keep your costs down. You’ll save money as a result of fewer on-site errors and additional occurrences that can result from having drug users on your team. 

It’s important to know your options 

Traditionally, there are three types of drug testing that you can do: prior to employment, randomly, or post-incident. Ideally you should be doing all three of these, but it will depend on your team and budget. 

You should absolutely be doing a drug test before filling an open position. This is just a no-brainer. Beyond that, if there are any on-site incidences, then you need to be doing the appropriate follow-up testing to ensure that you do not have a repeat situation. If possible, you should be doing random drug testing to help reaffirm your zero-tolerance policy and focus on workplace safety.  

Better your team, better your company

Regular drug testing might be going away in some industries, but it still makes sense for high risk construction sites. By having a regular and strong drug policy from the beginning, you will reinforce a company culture that is centered around safety. This will not only improve the quality of your work, but you’ll strengthen your team and save money along the way. 


Photo by Kendal James on Unsplash