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Why Drug Testing is a Must in the Energy and Utility Sector

Nicole Kolly's picture
Content Marketing Manager TestCountry

Nicole Kolly is a digital content manager at TestCountry. She is involved in drug addiction support groups for recovering addicts and their families. She is passionate about living a healthy...

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  • May 16, 2017
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It’s a huge responsibility that this sector shoulders. One intoxicated mistake and the urban infrastructure can go for a toss. It is imperative that there is rigorous drug and alcohol screening at all stages in the energy and utility industries. In this post, we discuss the reasons behind drug testing procedure, and how they benefit the energy and utility sector.

1. A Background Check Is a Must In a Sensitive Sector

Pre-employment drug testing and background checks are important. As discussed above, positions within the energy and utility sector are crucial to the framework building and functioning of society, and therefore requires comprehensive testing and screening. Employers must be sure that the potential employee does not have a previous history of drug and alcohol abuse.

The most reliable determiner of drug abuse (dating to at least three months prior to employment) is the hair test.

TestCountry’s drug testing kits remain one of the most frequently opted, owing to their expertise in organizing and executing a comprehensive testing plan. While these tests are perfect for employers to determine drug abuse tendencies or the lack of it in potential employees, a thorough background check is recommended for extremely sensitive positions.

  • Sex Offender Registry
  • Global Criminal Watch List
  • Federal Criminal History
  • Nationwide Criminal with SSN Trace and Alias
  • Nationwide Wants and Warrants

2. To Promote a Secure, Efficient, and Productive Workplace

The energy and utility sector provides electricity, water supply, natural gas, communications, sewage management and many other infrastructural services. For the sector to deliver, and meet its business goals, it needs an effective and efficient workforce that is not involved in any form of addiction, intoxication, and substance abuse.

Drug testing at the initial and intermediate stages ensure that you hire a workforce that gives a high return on investment. Besides the fact that drug testing will promote a more productive work environment, it is mandatory in this sector as clear-minded employees are not just vital for efficiency but also to reduce the risks employees will face on the job. Workers in this industry perform tasks such as operating cranes, drilling wells, fixing electrical wires and other on-the-edge jobs. These jobs demand a ‘safety first’ attitude.

In absence of strict imposition of drug testing, there could be various accidents that take place in an energy and utility company. Let’s take a look at some of the possible risks here:

  • Slips and Falls
  • Falling Equipment and Materials
  • Electrocution
  • Exposure to Radioactive Materials
  • Cuts and Lacerations from Equipment
  • Pinching and Crushing of Extremities
  • Falling Equipment and Materials

3. Random Drug Testing Yields Many Benefits

While pre-employment drug screening helps in eliminating drug users at the onset itself, random drug testing helps in continued discouragement of drug abuse. Urine testing is the most preferred choice of test for employers for random testing due to easy availability, the convenience of use, and extensive and accurate detection of drug abuse from 1-7 days after usage. There are various benefits that random drug testing can yield.

It functions as a preventive as well as an interventional strategy to implement a drug-free workplace.  Consequently, you have more well-informed, aware, and consistent employees individually, and as a whole at the workplace. You are able to both decrease and avoid major drug-related incidents, your employees enjoy a healthier lifestyle. They are aware that random drug testing is prevalent at their workplace, and if found to be on drugs, it can hamper their career, and professional goals substantially. A conscious decision is made to refrain from drug abuse.

Further, it also allows employers to reduce health insurance premiums and health costs by reducing on-the-job accidents, and drug-related illnesses.

4. Mandatory Requirement for Testing

In certain cases, and for certain companies, drug testing is mandatory. The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 requires certain companies to test employees if they have to obtain a contract with the Federal government. Even if a company receives a grant from the Federal government, it was mandatory that employees must be treated for drug abuse. 

5. Post-Accident Testing Is a Quick Resort to Finding the True Culprit

In cases, where there is suspicion of drug abuse being a primary cause of the accident, post-accident testing must be done. Saliva drug tests are the easiest and most convenient form of post-accident testing. It can be performed immediately without waiting for the substance to be metabolized in the body.

6. Signs and Symptoms of Drug Abuse

Marijuana and cocaine are extensively abused across industries. Many times, employees who passed their pre-employment screening fail the random-on-the job and post-accident drug tests. While tests and screenings remain the foremost method of eliminating and discouraging drug abuse, it still manages to pervade into the workplace in some instances. Watch out for these signs and symptoms of drug abuse in your employees to maintain a safer workplace, and prevent accidents.

  • Increased Absenteeism and Missing Deadlines
  • Erratic Work Pace
  • Reduced Productivity and Inconsistent Work Quality
  • Frequent Requests for Time Off
  • Poor Judgment
  • Regular Signs of Fatigue 
  • Lazy Disposition
  • Always Complaining about Vague Illness
  • Argumentative and Aggressive with Workers
  • Unexplained Disappearances from the Job
  • Requiring Increased Supervision and Inability to Pay Heed to It
  • Involvement in Risky Behavior
  • Careless Handling of Machinery
  • Depressive, Suicidal Tendencies 
  • Talk of Money Problems and Bankruptcy
  • A Blatant Disregard for Safety of Oneself and Others

Conclusion

Pre-employment drug testing takes a lot of hassle and trouble out of the process and allows you to have on board the right candidate. On the other hand, random drug testing allows you to tackle the drug problem heads on and maintain a drug-free workplace. A drug-free energy and utility company is a win-win situation where employees are healthy, and employers enjoy productivity, profitability and low turnover rates.

Author Bio:

Nicole Kolly is a digital content manager at TestCountry. She is involved in drug addiction support groups for recovering addicts and their families. She is passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and helping others do so as well. When she isn't working she enjoys hiking, reading and cooking for friends and family.

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