Many companies, particularly those in charge of dangerous workplaces such as factories and construction sites, or which employ drivers for any reason, have rigorous testing requirements to determine whether or not any of their employees are using drugs. Drugs, whether legal or not, can have a drastic impact on important safety considerations such as balance and reaction time. An employee who is under the influence puts not only themselves at risk, but everyone they work with is more likely to be injured in an accident.
Unfortunately, recent research indicates the number of employees showing up at work on drugs is increasing. Overall, the rate at which workers are testing positive for drugs increased by 4.2 percent, a dramatic year-over-year rise that could result in thousands of additional workplace injuries.
The reason for the increase is difficult to guess, but possibilities include:
- Legalization of marijuana in various states
- Ongoing impact from the opiate crisis
- Changes in social stigmas regarding drug use
It is unlikely that anyone’s reason is entirely responsible for the increase. Though changes in drug laws might be responsible for some of it, the marked increase in cocaine usage demonstrates that illegal drugs are also becoming more commonly used. The central takeaway is that increased drug use makes the workplace riskier for everyone, not just the person under the influence and that current workplace policies are not keeping people from working while high or drunk.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a workplace accident, a full investigation is necessary to determine whether or not proper safety protocols were developed and followed. If you suspect the company failed to provide a safe workplace, please consult with an experienced attorney regarding the details or your case.