Construction Workers and Substance Use Disorder

In recent years, the construction industry has been ranked second highest concerning full time workers who use alcohol on a regular basis. It also takes second over any other profession when it comes to employees who have substance use disorders. It falls into fifth place when it comes to the number of employees who regularly use illicit drugs. For these reasons, construction and addiction needs to be addressed by construction company owners and employees.

Many different occupations fall into the construction industry.. Some of them include Carpenter, Laborers, Painters, Stonemasons, Roofers, Electricians, Drillers, Steel workers, Inspectors, Construction managers, etc.

There are many mom-and-pop construction companies around the United States, along with multimillion dollar businesses, as well. There is a wide range of diversity in this industry which complicates intervention and prevention solutions. This means a particular approach to drug and alcohol abuse treatment may work for some people, but not for others. Some employers choose to threaten their employees with a termination if they are caught using drugs, alcohol, or other harmful substances. However, this doesn’t usually work for those who are addicted to a substance. The best way to handle the problem is to learn all you can about substance use disorder addictions.

Construction Industry and Substance Use Disorder

There are over 10 million people employed within the construction industry. This is mostly because construction is one of the largest industries in the United States. So, it makes perfect sense why it ranks higher than other professions when it comes to employees who suffer with substance use disorder disorders. A shift in the construction industry can be stressful. Many construction workers deal with hazards on the job every single day. Some use heavy machinery and put in overtime every week. The demands on a worker can be overwhelming and lead many people to use or consume alcohol on a regular basis. In turn, this can lead to a drug or alcohol addiction over time.

Risks of Workers Take While Intoxicated

The majority of fatal injuries in the construction industry are caused by transportation accidents such as an employee getting hit by a car or traffic accidents. Other common mishaps and injuries are caused by an employee being struck by an object, falling, or being exposed to harmful substances. The fact is that construction workers are at risk of being injured while they are doing their job everyday. This is why companies go to the length they do. They want to ensure all their workers remain safe. Most companies in the industry agree on one thing which is the main way to keep workers safe. This is to make sure employees are completely sober when they work on any job site.

Substance use can constrict judgment and disrupt coordination which increases the risk of injury and accidents to occur on job sites. Of course, construction workers don’t have to be under the influence to get hurt on the job. However, some studies have shown workers who participate in drugs or alcohol three or more times a week are more likely to experience accidents and injuries at work. In addition, hangovers can cause fatigue and decrease a person’s focus, which one depends on in order to be safe in the construction industry.

As stated above, employees in the construction industry are at risk of injury and accidents due to the hazards of the job. Some of these job hazards include the following:

  • Falls
  • Cutting themselves
  • Being exposed to dangerous substances
  • Weather related incidents

Along with these hazards, a person who drinks or takes drugs may become dehydrated which can be amplified by hot weather and cause a person to become ill. Many people might think a construction worker doesn’t have dangers, but they do every single day. However, if you are a person working in the industry one precaution you can take is to stay sober.

Construction and a Drug-Free Workplace

Many major construction companies have joined forces to help other businesses create a drug-free workplace environment. Some of these major companies include the following:

  • The Associated General Contractors of America
  • Associated Builders and Contractors
  • Construction Users Round Table
  • Construction Industry Round Table
  • Independent Electrical Contractors
  • Women Construction Owners and Executives
  • National Center for Construction Education and Research

One of the main goals of this coalition is to inform, organize, and provide resources to help small construction companies implement drug and alcohol abuse awareness and prevention programs. Over 4,000 organizations signed the coalition’s pledge which includes eliminating substance use accidents in the workplace.

Construction Workers Need Educated

Many large sized construction companies try to eliminate drug use in their organization by making their employees take regular drug tests. When results come back with a worker under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the company will terminate the person. However, this approach is not realistic for smaller sized companies because they have only a few workers and can’t afford to lose any of them. This is why many experts suggest that all construction companies educate their workers.

Many people working in the construction field understand alcohol and drugs can have a negative impact on their work, but many don’t grasp the extent of the impact. Educating individuals about the dangers of drugs and alcohol in the workplace can help workers understand the reality of the situation.

Working construction can be stressful. Many construction workers turn to using drugs or consuming alcohol in order to get through a hard, long day. However, if you are among these people hopefully now you understand the dangers of using drugs and consuming alcohol in the workplace. In addition, you should know there is help out there. Today would be a great day to get the help you deserve. Take a minute and contact an addiction treatment center right away.

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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