RJ Martin Electric Blog

Why a Drug-Free Workplace is Crucial in Electrical Contracting Projects

Construction sites are, by their very nature, dangerous environments. Yet, accidents happen. And when they do, there are significant ramifications beyond the obvious human toll.

Consider, for example, if a fire ignites on the site of a partially completed commercial building. What happens next? A possible series of events can unfold like this:

  1. A worker sustains burns and must receive medical aid, either onsite or off-site at a medical treatment facility. Though it may sound insensitive, that worker is now no longer working, so the job he/she was performing is not being done.
  2. The area in which the fire occurred is now cordoned off, and all work in that area is halted. Pictures are taken, witness statements are collected—in fact, many of the same policies and procedures that dictate how crime scenes are investigated also apply to workplace accident scenes. In any event, this area is no longer serviceable from a construction standpoint. This causes scheduling delays and quite possibly, budget overruns.
  3. Depending on the severity of the accident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) must be notified of the accident within eight hours. OSHA representatives may now potentially be called to the site for further investigation.
  4. Workers’ compensation claims may also apply to the end user.

Any one of these events could cause substantial project delays and resulting budget overruns. For general contractors (GCs) who manage dozens, sometimes even hundreds, of subcontractors on a job, one accident like this can instantly turn into a big problem.

Again, accidents occur. Yet, the electrical contractor you hire for your next project should take every available precaution to avoid them. Safety should be in their DNA—and a major component of workplace safety is a drug-free workforce.

Still, drug use and abuse remains a serious and widespread problem in the construction industry. In fact, reports indicate that that the construction industry experiences some of the highest rates of alcohol and drug abuse within all workforce sectors. Among construction workers 18-49 years old:

  • More than 12 percent were reported to have used illicit drugs during the past 30 days.
  • Nearly 21 percent were reported to have used illicit drugs during the past year.

At RJ Martin Electric, we put a premium on safety. Our award-winning safety program ensures workers are properly trained in all elements of safe work practices. It also includes comprehensive drug-free workplace education, training and testing.

RJ Martin Electric Drug-Free (Substance-Free) Program – Components, Process and Rationale

RJ Martin Electric established its Drug-Free (Substance-Free) Program in the early 2000s and has rigidly enforced it year in and year out ever since, while updating it as necessary in conformance with best practices, updated regulations and new mandates.

This program covers all full-time, part-time, seasonal, casual and temporary employees in three main areas: illicit drugs, prescription medication and alcohol. Two types of testing are performed: drug testing and blood-alcohol testing. For drug testing, RJ Martin Electric utilizes the 10-Panel Plus test, which is a federally certified test. Initial tests are 92-98 percent accurate, and confirmatory tests are 99 percent accurate. All testing is performed in conjunction with Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) federally certified labs.

Testing is performed on all RJ Martin Electric employees in the following circumstances:

  • Pre-employment
  • 90-day new hire
  • Reasonable suspicion
  • Post-accident
  • Return from layoff or leave of absence
  • Random (5 percent of all employees quarterly)
  • Return to duty following program violation, follow-up to assessment and/or treatment
  • Owner/contractor required
  • Government-required

Additionally, our leading-edge program provides employees with education regarding substance abuse, safety and specific program components. Supervisors are continually trained on their roles and responsibilities for administering the program.

Our program’s primary focus is on the health, safety and well-being of our employees. Our approach is to help our employees address substance abuse issues while ensuring that our workplace is operating safely and effectively. With that in mind, the overarching goals of our Drug-Free (Substance-Free) Program are twofold.

First, we stringently enforce our program to minimize the chances for workplace accidents and injuries. The benefits of fewer accidents are evident from both a financial and human standpoint.

Second, substance abuse is a serious problem that exacts a heavy human cost. Ours is a family-owned and operated business, and we treat every employee like family. If one of our team members struggles with use, dependency or addiction, it affects them, their loved ones and our RJ Martin Electric family in many ways. In this regard, a significant component of the program is a confidential employee assistance counseling service, offered free of charge to all employees and their immediate family members, which covers issues such as stress management, family/marital issues and anxiety, in addition to substance use/abuse. 

Whatever your next project may be, when it’s time to select an electrical contractor, make sure the one you choose has a comprehensive and fully documented safety program in place—and check to see that it’s consistently enforced over time. That program will help ensure that your contractor stays safe on the job. And that, in turn, will help keep your project on time and on budget.

Contact RJ Martin Electric to learn more.

We hope this blog helps you understand the importance of maintaining a drug-free workplace for electrical contracting projects. If you would like more information about our Drug-Free (Substance-Free) Program, please contact us. If you’re looking for an exceptional electrical contracting firm for your next project, or if you want information about RJ Martin Electric’s experience in industrial, health care, commercial, education and retail markets, please call Robert J. Martin at 216-662-7100 or email rmartinjr@rjmartinelectric.com.

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