Contractors may not be aware of the concerning epidemic pertaining to substance abuse in the workplace. Around 100 million Americans took prescription painkillers last year and approximately 15 percent of those people were not prescribed the drugs by a doctor. In this four-part article, we first discussed recent statistics pertaining to the troubling trend of substance abuse in the workplace. In the second and third section, we will discuss ways the construction industry is impacted by substance abuse. In the final section, we will discuss certain steps contractors can take to ensure their workplace is drug-free.
Although substance abuse is often perceived as a personal battle for the inflicted employee, it can affect your entire workplace leading to accidents that result in serious injury or significant citations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). If you need assistance with a response to an OSHA citation, please feel free to contact a Tennessee OSHA lawyer. If you are not in need of legal counsel at this time, please feel free to read on and educate yourself on the emerging crisis of substance abuse in the construction industry.
Construction Industry Among Highest Percentages
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BSL), since 2012, workplaces have experienced a staggering increase in fatal occupational injuries related to substance abuse. This is especially concerning for the construction industry which has one of the highest workplace fatality rates of any private sector industry and among the highest rates of drug use by employees. With physically demanding work, long and grueling hours on the job, and a lot of employees that suffer from chronic pain, studies have shown that construction professionals are more prone to using prescription pills, illegal drugs, and excessive consumption of alcohol than other industries.
No Federal Enforcement Agency
Unfortunately, there is no governing body or enforcing policy that primarily focuses on substance abuse and the construction workplace. For example, for transportation employees, the U.S. Department of Transportation created the 1991 Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act which requires “safety-sensitive” industry employers to have certain drug-free workplace programs that can assist with preventing substance abuse in the workplace. For construction employers, substance abuse in the workplace requirements vary from state-to-state and are often not routinely enforced.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.