Oil and gas is one of the most important, yet challenging industry segments due to various reasons. Although high salaries make it a lucrative option for hard workers, long working hours and months of isolation from family and friends, unfavorable working environments such as high ambient temperatures, as well as noisy and dusty environments make it equally challenging and stressful. As a result, many people develop an inclination towards substance abuse to get a temporary high. These fatalities have triggered concerns in terms of productivity, the safety of people, and compensations that oil and gas companies need to provide as a part of their work contracts.
As a result, occupational health is now being perceived as an important growth factor by most oil and gas companies operating large vessels and rigs. However, addressing this problem can be challenging because only a few positions are governed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Commission (PHMSC) or by the Department of Transportation (DOT). It is largely up to the oil and energy companies to devise and implement drug and alcohol testing guidelines. Over the years, MedWay Onsite Health Services (OHS) has helped several leading oil and gas companies and their contractors build and promote safe and productive workplaces for their employees, customers, and sub-contractors. Our drug and alcohol testing services help them meet the guidelines of mandated as well as non-mandated drug and alcohol testing.
Risks of Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Oil and Gas Industry
As known, drug and alcohol abuse in workplaces may have severe consequences on users, as well as their employers, and colleagues. The same goes true for users in the oil and gas industry, too. The following are some common risks associated with substance abuse in rigs and resource development projects where employees stay in challenging conditions.
- Workers under the influence of drugs are more likely to take sick leaves, make poor work decisions, and are likely to be less productive, too.
- Workers may end up damaging expensive equipment when they use it under the influence of drugs. This may lead to additional operational costs in terms of downtimes, repairs, benefits claims, and insurance claims.
- Regular employees who do not consume alcohol and drugs may feel pressured when they have to take up additional responsibilities of their colleagues who may work under the influence of drugs. This in turn may strain relationships at workplaces.
- The company’s reputation and security may be jeopardized if a drugged employee gets injured during work, or harm others during minor altercations.
To avoid these risks, today, the oil and gas industry clients are keen to implement drug-free workplace policies. We support them through the following tests:
- Pre-employment Drug Testing: The DOT and PHMSC mandate all employees considered for safety-sensitive positions to undergo drug and alcohol testing. We perform this type of testing on candidates who are being considered for safety-sensitive positions such as drivers, site supervisors, and so on.
- Random Drug Testing: Both DOT and PHMSC recommend oil and gas companies to conduct random drug testing on employees covered under it to discourage them from using drugs. As of 2021, there is no requirement for random alcohol testing for people involved in these positions. We also conduct random drug testing for employees who may not be covered under DOT and PHMSC guidelines. Often, these tests are conducted on short notice to deter employees from cheating on these tests.
- Reasonable Suspicion Drug Testing: Usually, we receive the request for reasonable suspicion drug testing from employers when they notice erratic symptoms such as a change in behavior, motor skills, changed workplace relationships, odor, or slurring speech and so on in their employees. At times, the decision for reasonable suspicion drug testing may be taken based on the reporting by certain employees.
- Post-incident Drug Testing: The employers are required to conduct drug testing on injured employees covered under DOT/PHMSC within 36 hours of the incident. Sometimes, this testing is also conducted on people who may be affected by the incident and could not complete their work due to it. If they are also under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then it may accelerate worries for the employer. We often conduct these tests to identify drugs that may have led to the accident.
Different Types of Drug Tests Offered by MedWay OHS
At MedWay OHS, we conduct the following types of drug tests to analyze the influence of drugs and alcohol on employees who work in challenging work environments.
- Saliva Drug Testing: In this type of testing, human saliva is used to trace drugs up to 72 hours. This drug testing is preferred for instant results it assure.
- Hair Follicle Drug Testing: Hair follicles help analyze the drug usage over a long time. Drug traces get embedded in hair follicles and they grow with the hair. The detection window for hair follicle drug testing is up to 90 days.
- Urine Drug Testing: This is the most popular type of drug testing, wherein the urine sample is used to analyze the traces of drugs in bloodstream. The urine sample offers 30 days detection period, however, its influence may differ based on factors such as metabolic activity, hydration, and the type of drug consumed.
Although urine drug testing is the most popular of all drug tests, it can be easily cheated because of the sample collection process. Against this, the sample of saliva and urine is collected in the presence of a certified professional, which makes it difficult to cheat.
MedWay OHS helps oil and gas companies reduce instances of substance abuse at their workplaces and create productive and happy workplaces. If you have any questions regarding our drug testing services, you can email us your concerns and queries or call us on any of the numbers given below.