I want to know your opinions concerning mandatory drug testing of electricians. Do you as employers require your employees to be tested? if so, how often, and what do you do if any of your employees are found to be taking drugs? As employed electricians, do your companies require you to take drug tests when you are hired and randomly afterwords? Do you feel that employees are safer if they are made to take the drug tests? I am a subcontractor for a Power company, and as part of my contract with them, I had to get a drug test, in fact, I had to arrange for one and pay for it myself. Anyone I hire that does any work for the power company also has to get tested. In fact, I and any employees of mine also have to have a background investigation done as well. What are your opinions?
In many cases, these tests are requireed either by federal law, or by federal contracts the utility is party to. Personally, I have adopted the policy of the U.S. Navy: Not in my crew, not on my ship, not in my fleet. While I cannot control the roofers, the sheetrockers, etc...I will insist everyone in my trade be clear-headed and sober.
There is simply too much at risk.
Do the tests make the job safer? As far as I am concerned, NO- not by themselves. I have been far too many places where the dope tests were considered just part of the game, and dopers were common. The electrical trade, I was pleasantly surprised to find, actually has a strong "no druggies" attitude on the shop floor.
One thing that really changes the picture is the drug you're referring to. While some may assert that drug laws create "victimless" crimes, that claim is pure fantasy when applied to cocaine and meth. Especially with meth, users can be some of the most personable, hardest working folks you'll ever meet- until they burn out! In the interim, they spread a lot of dissention in a crew, and an atmosphere of mistrust developes as tools vanish. Even "harmless" pot seems to foster an attitude of "us vs. them"....with the users sure to apply their prejudice against non-users.
Interesting! Several years ago, while still active, had a GC that decided to require tests of all subs. At that time false positives were not a rare exception. I, and my attorney, drafted an acceptance form for the GC to sign along with our people. In it the GC accepted full responsibility for the accuracy of the tests and any positive had to be verified by two additional labs. If the original was proven wrong, the GC was liable for $50,000 per false reading. The GC decided that subs would not be required to submit to tests. BTW, my company had testing for all employees including office personnel.
Besides the obvious reason of having a crew that is alert on the job (well in theory anyway), IMHO, there is also another good reason I support it. I have seen a lot of evidence that just the fact of possibly having to get tested has resulted in some individuals from using drugs, that otherwise probably would have been abusers. I have known people in life who have confessed this fact back to me. It is a side benefit.
There are testing methods available that detect ACTUAL IMPAIRMENT on the job, while not:
Cross-reacting with prescription or OTC meds...
Requiring the degrading ritual of peeing in a cup...
Penalizing an employee for what they may choose to do in their off-work hours...
Treating every employee like a criminal suspect...
Preferentially catching employees who smoke marijuana (which lingers in the urine much longer), as opposed to users of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and other hard drugs which clear in a day or 2....
A quick Google on "Fitness for Duty testing" will turn up several devices that test reflexes and mental alertness before a work shift begins, which will not only catch anyone who reports for work high on illegal drugs, but people who are impaired due to lack of sleep, mental stress, or any other reason (which urine testing does absolutely NOTHING to catch).
If employers REALLY cared about workplace safety, as opposed to making the insurance companies and Big Brother at the DEA happy, such testing techniques would quickly replace the pointless "whiz quiz".
Judging employees on their WORK PERFORMANCE, rather than the chemical makeup of their urine always seemed like a good idea to me...
[This message has been edited by NJwirenut (edited 04-11-2006).]
In every workplace where I have worked in the past 25 years, some of the brightest and best individuals in the place have been social pot smokers.
The THC from smoking a single joint is detectable up to 6 weeks after smoking it but any effect on workplace performance is not detectable after a few hours.
So blanket testing of all employees is probably counterproductive.
I reckon the time to bring out the drug test is when an employee has demonstrated the sort of incompetence that indicates that they are impaired in some way, be it through pot, speed, alchohol, whatever.
Note also that where testing is routine, the expertise at evading the testing flourishes. The word I hear is that even prison inmates find it fairly easy to pass drug tests despite using.
And if your lack of sleep is bad enough to effect your judgement or abilities on the job, then you are just as much a hazard to yourself and others as somebody who shows up for work high on drugs.
CERTAINLY you would be more of a hazard than the guy who smoked a joint a week earlier, but guess who would be nailed by a drug test?
Drug testing only addresses ONE cause of workplace impairment, and it isn't the most prevalent one by a long shot. But because nobody wants to be seen as "soft on drugs", employers line up like good little sheep and institute DRUG testing programs rather than IMPAIRMENT testing. Makes the lawyers and insurance folks happy, while helping to erode employee's rights and perpetuate the "Chemical McCarthyism" that has ruled the USA since Ronnie Raygun.
I won't even get into the 4th and 5th amendment violations inherent in drug testing because it would probably get the thread closed because of the dreaded "political content"....
Urine tests are a joke. First of all "hard core drugs" (cocaine,meth,ect.) are water soluble meaning that they only stay in the body of a couple of days. So inless the test is scheduled just right you will never catch persons who injest them. While marijuana is a fat soluble drug it takes much longer to leave the body, up to 30 days. So the way I view it drug test are primarely set up to catch marijuana users, right? So a guy who drinks a 12 pack or more is more eligable for hire because he can pass a drug test? Just because alchol is more acceptible and legal means its ok? I think drug tests are a violation of ones privacy. You should be juged on your work ethic and productivity. Being a former pot-head, sober for 6 months now, I'd be ling to you if I said I wasn't a better worker. But I never would get high before or at work and that's my buisness. Besides everyone knows how easy it is to beat a drug test!
Jesus may have been a capenter,but God was an electrician.Genesis1:3