How can contractors safely onboard new and returning employees, and how does drug testing work during a pandemic? Find out these answers and more on this week’s ICI Digs Deep podcast. https://bit.ly/2BldOla
A member posed the following question today, and it’s been echoed by several others, so we thought we’d share the guidance here.
Our testing site for drug testing in Indianapolis is currently closed until April 6, and we have new hires that need to be drug tested. What does ICI recommend we do? Being tested in a general clinic or urgent care facility doesn’t seem feasible with the number of patients they are seeing for the COVID-19 virus.
There are 2 options:
- Schedule a van to stop by your jobsite or office on or close to Day 1 for pre-employment urine testing. Call 765-482-2976 x 8103; or
- Use oral swabs.
Oral swabs offer an alternative to urine testing in a clinic. We provide 10-panel drug testing swabs in boxes/cartons of 20 or 25 swab kits at no charge to employers contributing to the ICISAT program through one or more of the Indiana Heavy and Highway agreements. We just need to know where and to whom to ship them. There are directions provided with each box of swabs, and George Sheraw (317) 634-7547 can run through the process with you, if it would be helpful.
The swabs can be used on-site and in about 10 minutes will tell the employer if the individual is negative or “non-negative.” “Non-negative” is a carefully chosen word that means while the swab appears to be positive, the final determination must be done with a 10-panel urine test at a clinic.
If one or more of your people get a “non-negative” result on their swab, then they must go to the local clinic to be urine tested to determine whether they are positive or not. The swabs pick up prescription medications, so it’s not uncommon for the swabs to look positive but in actuality end up being negative after a SAMHSA certified lab tests their urine.
One of the drawbacks to the swabs is they won’t change a employee’s card status, because they aren’t a urine test.
AGC intensified its effort to dissuade the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) from interpreting its new recordkeeping regulations to restrict drug testing or safety incentive programs by pressing for a formal audience with the top OSHA official.
At the heart of the controversy surrounding the new regulations are two provisions that have many practical and legal problems. At the moment, AGC of America is focusing on two such problems. Firstly, OSHA has threatened to interpret these provisions to prohibit mandatory post-incident drug testing. Secondly, the agency has similarly threatened to construe them to restrict safety incentive programs, specifically any programs that link their rewards to the number of incidents reported to the employer.
Read the full story here.
The following new contractor requirements take effect for state and local public works contracts awarded after June 30, 2016. Exceptions include Build/Operate/Transfer, P3, Design-Build and Construction Manager as Constructor contracts.
A contractor of any tier with 10 or more employees must provide its workers with access to a training program applicable to the tasks performed by those workers. Training can be accomplished through an apprenticeship program offered by Ivy Tech or Vincennes University, a program established by or for the contractor, a program offered by an entity sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training (US DOL-BAT), a program that results in the award of an industry recognized portable certification, or a program approved by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) or INDOT.
A prime or general contractor (G.C.) or a subcontractor, contracting with a prime/G.C., employs 50 or more journeymen, the contractor must also participate in an apprenticeship or training program meeting standards established by or approved by US DOL-BAT, Indiana Department of Labor, FHWA or INDOT.
A contractor in any tier must preserve payroll and related records for three years after completion of the project and make those records open to inspection by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
Prime/G.C. and subcontractors, contracting on local public works contracts of $150,000 or more, must now adhere to drug testing requirements that were only applicable on state contracts prior to July 1, 2016.
The new statutes also require public owners to follow new procedures regarding possible contractor violations and in contractor responsibility determinations. For violations involving E-Verify, federal or state minimum wage laws, workers compensation or unemployment compensation, the public agency will be required to refer the matter to the appropriate agency. For other violations involving the new requirements, the public agency shall require the contractor to remedy the violation within 30 days of notification. If the violation continues, the agency shall find the contractor not responsible for up to 48 months. A finding that a contractor is not responsible is subject to judicial review. However, a finding that a contractor is not responsible due to a violation of the new requirements may not be used by another public agency as the basis for finding that contractor not responsible.
Alcohol and drug use among employees and their family members can be an expensive problem for any industry.
The impact of alcoholism and drug dependence in the workplace generally focuses on four major areas: premature death and fatal accidents; injuries and accident rates; absenteeism; and loss of productivity. Other problem areas include tardiness, sleeping on the job, poor decision making, loss of efficiency, theft, workplace morale, high turnover and more. In addition, family members living with someone’s alcoholism or drug use may also suffer significant job performance related problems, including absenteeism, lack of focus, increased health-related problems and use of health insurance.
There is a certain level of danger associated with any construction job site. Because we don’t want to add to the danger, it’s important to establish guidelines and consequences for substance abuse and help employees follow those guidelines.
Coworkers are often reluctant to let management know when they suspect drug or alcohol activity. They are concerned that any coworkers they identify will be penalized or even lose their jobs. The reality is that the abuser is placed in far greater jeopardy when this information is not reported. Silence helps to foster opportunities for hazards and continued drug use to exist. Below are three suggestions on how to deal with this type of situation:
- Don’t be an enabler. When you cover up for substance abusers, lend them money or help conceal poor work performance, you are protecting them from the consequences of their behavior and making it possible for them to continue using drugs or alcohol.
- Don’t look the other way. If you suspect drugs are being used or sold on your worksite, report it to your supervisor. Contacts are normally confidential and anonymous.
- Don’t intervene on your own. Drug abuse and drug dealing are serious problems, and qualified professionals should handle them.
Cooperation is the key to dealing with substance abuse in the workplace. Employers and employees alike have a role to play. We must all recognize our roles and carry out our responsibilities. We must ensure:
- A comprehensive drug-free policy is in place.
- Employees are educated regarding the effects of drug and alcohol abuse.
- Supervisors are trained to recognize such abuse.
- Employees are periodically tested.
- Assistance is available for employees who require help.