Blue collar jobs- exactly the type of employment President Donald Trump vowed to bring back to America is falling short of workers. The reason behind this is not because people don’t want the positions. Many factory workers are paid upwards of 20 dollars an hour and receive full benefits. These positions do not require a college degree nor do they discriminate based on sex, religion, or background. The reason that these blue collar jobs are scrounging for workers is that many of them cannot pass a drug test. Drug abuse is a leading cause that skilled workers cannot acquire permanent employment.
The economic impact of drug abuse on the workforce is being felt across the country.
Ohio factory owner, Regina Mitchell, stated though she has blue-collar jobs available at her company, she struggles to fill positions because so many candidates fail drug tests. She estimated four out of 10 applicants otherwise qualified to be welders, machinists, and crane operators will fail a routine drug test.
“I need employees who are engaged in their work while here, of sound mind and doing the best possible job that they can, keeping their fellow co-workers safe at all times,” she said. “We have a 150-ton crane in our machine shop. And we’re moving 300,000 pounds of steel around in that building on a regular basis. So I cannot take the chance to have anyone impaired running that crane, or working 40 feet in the air.”
Americans in the workforce testing positive for drugs is at an all-time high. Drug abuse in America is at an all-time high. Although marijuana has been legalized in some states, there are company policies who do not condone the use of any drugs, including marijuana, legal or not.
“It hasn’t been until the last two years that we needed to have a policy, a corporate policy in place, that protects us from employees coming into work impaired,” said Mitchell.
The Opioid Epidemic
Opioid use is on the rise across the country. Ohio State had the second-largest number of opioid-related deaths in the United States and the fifth-highest rate of overdose.
A federal study estimated that prescription opioid abuse cost the U.S economy $78.5 billion in 2013, but that does not capture the broader effect on businesses.
The opioid epidemic and, wider marijuana use continues to hit businesses in ways that are beginning to be acknowledged by policymakers and other experts. While some federal laws have become more flexible in the use of recreational drug use, businesses and manufacturers cannot take the chance to be more flexible in their policies.
Substance use negatively affects U.S. industry through lost productivity, workplace accidents and injuries, employee absenteeism, low morale, and increased illness. Causing companies to lose billions of dollars a year.
Most Americans who suffer from addiction are unable to maintain a steady job. Hence, they get fired from their current job or quit, to become re-employed again, but never fixing the underlying issue of their addiction.
It has been documented that job positions that contribute to high levels of stress or expose employees to physical danger are the reasons behind why these workers feel the need to use drugs or alcohol. Many people self-medicate with substances to alleviate their stress, fear, depression, or physical pain leading to chronic drug abuse. The use of substances to numb unwanted feelings seems to be one of the most common factors in addictions.
Physical laborers, such as construction workers, and minors are exposed to a number of physical dangers a day. Many of them are overcoming previous injuries they endured while on the job. Causing a form of PTSD whenever they partake in a certain task. Truck drivers battle loneliness, pilots have 100s of lives in their hands and millions of dollars worth of equipment they are responsible for. Law enforcement officers are exposed to life-threatening positions every day, they are put into hostile situations with harsh individuals, and never know if the next move they make could end their life or someone else’s.
If you feel there is reasonable suspicion to drug test your employee, or you would like to become part of Americas Drug-Free Workplace, please visit American Drug Testing at www.americandrugtesting.com, or call (855) 919-DRUG.