A surprising and alarming trend is appearing in the urinalysis results of some safety industry workers Americans trust most. More and more of these workers are failing their drug tests.
Recent results show that truck drivers, bus drivers, rail operators and even pilots are flunking their drug tests and performing their jobs under the influence of illegal drugs. The problem is that these employees work in the safety industry and are responsible for hundreds, if not thousands, of people's lives.
Recent studies conducted by Qwest Diagnostics show, in random drug tests throughout the country, that drug and alcohol use have dramatically increased, including a 33 percent increase in positive cocaine results. The U.S. Department of Transportation has also added heroin and ecstasy to the list of drugs for which it screens transportation workers. The worry is that increased use of drugs and/or alcohol on the job leads to an increase in accidents and injuries.
Union representatives report lack of sleep and exhausting schedules as one reason for the increase, particularly among truck drivers. Whatever the cause, the alarming rate of drug use in this industry has some disturbing ramifications.
The major issue in this scenario is the safety concern. These workers are responsible for the well-being of the people who have entrusted their lives to them. People count on them to be accurate, alert and in control of not only themselves, but also the situations around them.
When safety operators are not clear-headed, accidents happen. And when these safety workers are airplane pilots, train operators or other mass transit workers, the results of their inabilities can be catastrophic, with significant injuries and even casualties.
Source: CBS News, "More 'safety' workers testing positive for drugs," Cari Nierenberg, 3/22/2012.
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