Safe Solutions

Drug and alcohol testing

In the construction industry, the numbers of injuries and fatalities caused by falls and transportation incidents often are reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, statistics are sparse regarding the contributing roles drug and alcohol use play in workplace injuries and fatalities.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that in 2005, almost 75 percent of illicit drug users 18 and older were employed full or part time. In addition, 10 to 20 percent of workers who suffered a workplace fatality in 2005 tested positive for alcohol or other drugs. And, not surprisingly, OSHA reports the industries with the highest rates of drug use among their workers also are at high risk for occupational injuries, such as construction and manufacturing.

Company risk

Although it is difficult to determine accurate values, the overall cost to U.S. businesses from alcohol or substance abuse among workers is estimated to be more than $100 billion per year, according to various sources. Various researchers estimate that lost productivity, increased medical costs, and other expenses related to an employee's alcohol or substance abuse can cost a company more than $7,000 per year.