Contractors, Unions and Insurers, and Risk Managers met to discuss past, current & future drug free workplace issues and their relationship to jobsite safety. The event, hosted by Avitar, Inc., was part of a national series and followed similar forums in Boston, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C.
Interest in these events is being driven by the need to address the growing problem of drug abuse in the construction sector.
Pro Trades Connection - Alex Stoopenkoff, Corporate Accounts Manager
Kitchell Corporation - John Heil, Safety Director
SeaBright Insurance Co.- Edward Foust, Sr. Loss Control Consultant
Noteworthy Quotations from the Event:
Ed Foust, Senior Loss Control Consultant, SeaBright Insurance Company
-“ Workers know which companies drug test and which ones do not. Drug users flock to the sites that do not test.”
-“To say that you don’t have a worksite drug problem is fooling yourself. We have sent a consultant to worksites to buy drugs so that we could demonstrate to ownership the level of the problem.”
-“Anything you can do to move your risk assessment from an acceptable to superior status will do nothing but help you with premiums. A solid drug prevention program can help with that move.”
-“ Liquid lunches at construction sites are still very prevalent.”
Alex Stoopenkoff, Corporate Accounts Manager, Pro Trades Connection
-“What we hear the most from our clients is how important drug testing is.”
-“It is critical to develop a drug testing program that is to be consistently applied.”
-“At Pro Trades we needed something that was easy to use and cost effective. Oral fluid-based drug testing was the only thing that made sense to us.” ”
John Heil, Safety Director, Kitchell Corporation
-“The impact of drug use is not only with job site accidents, but quality of work and productivity as well.”
-“A random drug testing program is the only process that will provide the necessary deterrent. If you step foot on one of our sites, you will be tested.”
-“Workplace drug abuse is a strategic issue for our company. The negative impacts to employee safety and our corporate financial bottom line could are very significant if left unmanaged. It’s import for all of us safety management to convince the powers that be that change is the “status-quo”, and proactively managing workplace drug abuse is a great benefit to benefit to any company… and a necessary one.”
Washington Group – Audience Member
-"If you are not doing random testing today, you need to start. Random drug testing is proactive whereas post accident is reactive."
Skanska – Audience Member
-"The union hall lets laborers know if a particular job has drug testing or not. If you refuse that work, you remain on the top of the list for the next job. Drug users will continue to refuse work until they get an offer from a job site that does not have a drug testing program."
The theme of the roundtable discussion was the importance of drug free workplace policy development. Participants discussed the problems and potential barriers around unions and the process of instilling an oral-fluid based drug testing program. Panel members generally agreed that Point-of-care (POC) oral fluid-based technology is a key element in addressing the growing problem of drug abuse in the construction industry.