NECA-IBEW Electricians’ drug-free workplace backed by the numbers

Numbers don’t lie. Neither do drug tests.

A look at the latest Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index (DTI) shows that the positivity rate for the general U.S. workforce increased overall by 9.3 percent, to 4.7 percent in 2014 – the most recent data available – compared to 4.3 percent in 2013.

But results from NECA-IBEW Electricians’ 2015 substance abuse testing program tell a much more encouraging story. Last year, member contractors had 341 new hire and random employee drug tests conducted by a third party. Of those tests, only 1 percent came back positive; 370 percent lower than the national average.

drug free workplace 2“Our member electrical contractors and union workforce takes seriously the responsibility of upholding the highest standards on the job, and that includes a drug-free workplace,” said Jack Savage, executive director of the Mahoning Valley NECA chapter. “Substance abuse has no place in our trade, and that’s why we’ve instituted such a disciplined drug-testing program.”

Dangerous combination

Workplace safety is important in any industry, but when you’re working with the power of electricity, it is paramount. Even when all the right precautions are taken and all the workers are properly trained, accidents can happen.

But when you throw in the possibility of an employee working under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it’s a prescription for a hazardous workplace.

Believe it or not, some non-union building trades are not required to have drug testing programs. That’s why it’s important when selecting an electrical contractor for your project, that you consider not only workmanship and reliability, but their safety record and drug-free hiring policy.

Did you know that substance users are three to four times more likely to have an accident on the job? Substance users are also up to 50 percent less productive, five times more likely to file a workers’ compensation claim, and account for up to 80 percent of all theft and loss on the job.

Benefits of drug-free workplace

Study after study supports that a drug-free workplace increases productivity, drives quality workmanship, decreases the risk of accidents and workers’ compensation costs, and protects the company, employees and customers against physical injury or a damaged reputation.

NECA-IBEW Electricians new hires are required to submit to drug screens as part of the hiring process and our vigilance continues with random drug tests of employees. As evidenced by the most recent report, our results consistently exceed national standards.

Every NECA-IBEW Electricians contractor is required to cooperate with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and enforce the standards of our Drug Free Work Place Program, which is an incentive-based program that assists contractors in establishing a safer and substance-free workplace.

The program administers drug tests that are free of charge to employees and are designed to help employers detect and deter substance use and misuse. It also goes beyond that to offer training for supervisors and education and counseling for employees, including an employee assistance program for employees to voluntarily seek assistance before drug use becomes a problem.