Unfortunately, the construction industry tends to have a high instance of drug and alcohol abuse. In this article, we will go over some of the reasons for this trend, and what you can do to support any workers on your team who may be struggling.

Reasons for substance abuse in the construction industry

  • Long hours: The stress of working around the clock is directly correlated to abusing drugs or alcohol. This increases around 50 hours a week, which is not uncommon for those who work in construction.
  • Boring jobs: When work feels routine or predictable, individuals are more likely to direct their attention to substances. This is particularly true when there does not seem to be a clear career path or opportunity for advancement.
  • Unstable work: Many positions in the construction industry are project-based, meaning that periods of intense work are often followed by periods of unemployment. Drug and alcohol abuse can result from boredom or as a way to cope with the uncertainty.
  • Physical distress: Ongoing strain on the body and physical injury can also result in substance abuse. And, conversely, substance abuse can also lead to further injury.

Ways to help your employees deal with substance abuse

Ultimately, you want to lower the risk of your employees starting down the road of drug and alcohol abuse. First off, you should make your policies known to all new employees as part of your onboarding process. Managers and foremen should also be trained to recognize the early signs of usage. Let your employees know that they should come to you if they have any concerns about a team member – and that they will be able to speak openly and privately.

Beyond that, you should make sure that you are regularly drug testing your employees. By doing so, you will greatly cut down on the number of workplace injuries. Companies who regularly screen also pay much less in worker compensation. While this may seem like an unnecessary expenditure, you will save far more in the long run.

The bottom line

If your team members are abusing drugs and alcohol, chances are that they are not producing the best quality work product. They are also more likely to show up late or skip shifts, not to mention they are probably not doing anything positive for your workplace morale. The company will pay for this in the long run, with the time and energy needed to replace employees or correct work that was done improperly. By recognizing the warning signs and doing what you can to improve the situation, you will be best supporting your employees as well as your company.


Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash