Substance Abuse Program Evaluation

In order to keep your construction team’s safety a priority, don’t get complacent when it comes to your substance abuse program evaluation. Regular screenings and training on the dangers of substance abuse are important components.

The successes of substance abuse programs in construction are many.  And, construction workers saw the benefit themselves of regular drug screening.  Tried and true workers know that impaired co-workers pose many threats.  They are a threat to themselves.  They endanger the safety of the entire crew.  And, they can even pose a danger to whoever uses the space or product if it’s been constructed in a faulty manner.  Workers became less hesitant to call-out workers who were abusing substances.

Because the substance abuse has been minimized with the success of past training and programs, some companies have started to forget about the issue all together.  But, there is no room for complacency in construction.

That’s why regular evaluation of your substance abuse program is recommended.  When a program is periodically evaluated you can learn what is working, what isn’t, and what gaps. needed to be addressed. Here is a to-do list to help you create an evaluation for your substance abuse program:

  1. Review the policy paperwork.  Learn the policy itself.  The training and materials that are given to employees.  Look at the testing records and if there were any violations.  You may find the policy still fits your needs.  Or, perhaps upon reviewing it, you’ll get some new ideas.
  2. Talk with employees and get their honest feedback.  Do they like the policy?  Do they see a benefit in the policy?  How comfortable are they reporting a violation?
  3. Make sure the policy is implemented as it is intended.  All too often, a new employee is allowed to work a few days before he or she is screened.  Of course you’re in a bind to get extra help quickly, but this is a dangerous precedent.  A worker is just as likely to get hurt on the first day as he or she is on the eleventh day.  Don’t put your company and other employees at risk.  Also, it sends a message to your crew that the policy is just for show, and it isn’t enforced.  Not a good message to send.
  4. The policy should allow employees to respond if a positive result is found.  Maybe the employee is on a prescription, which could alter results. So, make sure your policy is reasonable. Quick and strict responses are an important component to your policy, but it shouldn’t feel punitive before hearing out the individual.

Because substance abuse programs have been a regular feature of construction safety for some time, it’s easy to neglect what used to be regular components.  Your crew needs to be safe.  And, the end product needs to be constructed correctly.  In order for both these results to happen, screenings and training need to happen regularly.  Safety in the construction industry requires that every individual plays by the rules!