A drug-free workforce is imperative for the success and safety of your business. While this is true in any industry, the construction industry has to take special care to make sure their employees are drug and alcohol free since construction workers operate large and dangerous equipment such as cranes and forklifts. Further, the nature of their job requires them to work in high-risk situations such as atop scaffolds.
A quality drug and alcohol safety awareness program will not only allow your workers to learn about the dangers of drugs and alcohol on the job, it also will help them to identify the signs of substance abuse so they can recognize if someone is working under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Most importantly, such a training program will give employees who may be struggling with addiction problems a safe environment where they can ask for help and get the attention they need – whether in the classroom setting or privately with a certified professional in the field.
The United States Department of Labor reports that in the past 10 years 15 percent of construction workers admitted to using illicit drugs and 18 percent admitted to heavy alcohol consumption. These numbers may be attributed to the fact that construction workers are almost 98 percent male and many are young. Both of these factors, being male and young, make it more likely that an individual will abuse drugs or alcohol.
No matter what the profession, workplace substance abuse causes major problems, including more sick days and difficulty getting along with others. However, substance abuse in the construction sector is particularly troubling because of the inherent danger already a part of the job description. In fact, the Occupational, Safety and Health Administration reports that almost 18 percent of all private industry fatalities in 2011 were in the construction field. The most common cause of fatalities in the industry included falls, being struck by an object, being trapped between objects, and electrocutions.
Providing your workers a quality drug free workplace training program is one of the most important things you can do for them – and for the overall health of your company. Like any other health problem, catching addiction problems early is the key to recovery. Thankfully, there is a growing understanding that substance abuse is a disease that needs to be treated and can be controlled. It is this understanding that will help ensure that an employee feels comfortable coming forward for help. And that will make everyone safer in the long run.