The Increasing Demand for Drug and Alcohol Testing on the Work Site
Work safety is becoming a big concern for the construction industry. Construction firms take a number of steps for providing workers with a safe and healthy work environment, but most firms ignore random drug and alcohol tests. Employee turnover is pretty high in this particular industry which is why employers fail in recognizing benefits of such random tests. Studies have shown that construction firms that conduct random alcohol & drug tests are able to minimize workplace injuries to a major extent.
Leading insurance companies demand construction companies to submit employee safety manuals to qualify for insurance, and expectantly there will be a requirement of drug & alcohol tests in coming future. Recently the Master Builders Association in Australia has demanded routine drug & alcohol random tests to minimize workplace accidents. The MBA has also demanded extensive research on work safety methods and procedures to bring down accidents by 35% in the coming three years. The association has stepped back from a number of commitments as they cannot set management safety strategies industry wide. Instead they have recommended safety measures such as drug tests. If you are planning to have your home built, it’s not a bad idea to make sure you are employing reliable home builders who will make sure your home is built in the best quality.
A recent study on random drug testing in construction industry conducted by Cornell University revealed a number of surprising facts. Within 2 years of beginning the testing program, the injury rates decreased to half. Due to a major decrease in workplace accidents the expenses on workers compensation decreased to a great extent. The experience rating modification factor also reduced in companies that implemented alcohol testing program. More than 2/3rd employers under study stated that the benefits of drug tests were a lot more than its costs. Workplace accidents don’t just result in heavy compensation expenses, but they also cause damage to plant and machinery.
Legal liability is one of the major reasons why employers avoid drug tests. If an employer commits to drug tests, he/she must test all employees. Failure to test even a single individual will lead to additional liability in case that employee causes harm to property or to a fellow worker. Another issue is that once you commit to drug tests, it must be carried on. The legal liabilities are still far less than the contingent liabilities in case the construction firm face a law suit.
Overall it is seen that cost is the biggest reason why employers avoid drug tests. Actually drug tests are not as expensive as they are thought to be. Using a breathalyzer is an inexpensive way to conduct drug tests. In case a worker seems intoxicated he can be asked to give a blood sample for detailed results. Intoxicated employees are less productive, but employer pays preset hourly wage rate to them leading to higher costs of production. Tests can be conducted by hiring a doctor that pays a visit randomly after every few weeks. Litigation costs can be very high in case a third party files a suit on basis of workplace safety flaws. The research clearly shows that benefits of random drug & alcohol tests clearly outweigh its costs, and they should be conducted throughout the construction industry.