When you are working on a project, whether it is a DIY project in your home or you are working with a team of subcontractors on a professional project, there are going to be times when you have to depend on the help of others. Not all contractors or subcontractors are as professional as they claim to be –and if you find that they’re using alcohol or drugs on the job, you need to know how to deal with it.
Work to Avoid Problems with Your Crew
Whether you’re hiring a contractor to do some of the work you can’t do or you’re subcontracting out some of the work to get the job done faster, you have to pay close attention to who you hire. The budget you establish is critical. If you don’t budget for high-quality labor, you’re going to end up with contractors who may think that drinking or getting high on the job is acceptable behavior.
It’s also a good idea to do some research on the contractors before you hire them. The Better Business Bureau recommends that you research their profile on BBB.org and ask for references. Additionally, you should get multiple quotes to have a way to make comparisons.
Be present on the job and set your standards high. When people know you’re going to be stopping by regularly, they’ll be less likely to take advantage of you.
Understand that Anyone Can Have an Addiction
There is no “one type” of person who may suffer from an alcohol or drug addiction. Blue- and white-collar people alike can deal with addiction – and it may be alcohol, prescription drugs, or even illicit drugs. What this means is that you won’t know if someone is battling addiction when you first hire them because they’re not going to look like an addict. And, if they do look like an addict, you’re not going to hire them at all.
You can certainly ask a company if they drug test employees on a regular basis. However, it’s entirely possible that employees will know when they’re going to be tested. Many people dealing with addiction are good at beating the system. You will simply need to be observant.
Statistics have shown that construction workers are more likely to use drugs than those in any other industry. Much of this has to do with the long hours and the strenuous work. Those that have been prescribed painkillers in the past may have formed an addiction. You may notice issues and you may not – so keep an eye out for the potential problems so you can address them when they happen.
Identify the Problem
You will want to identify the problem as soon as possible because it can create unsafe work conditions. When you have someone who is consuming alcohol on the job or using drugs, they may be a danger to themselves and everyone else on the job site. Additionally, there’s no telling how much damage they could be causing to your property. They could be charging you more (or buying subquality products) as a way to have more money to buy their substance of choice.
When you notice that there’s a problem, you have to identify it. If they are under the supervision of a contractor or company, bring it to their attention. If they are the contractor (or the company owner), then you can contact the county in which they are licensed. Additionally, you can report it to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). By doing so, you report that the person is not only using on the job but it also helps them to get access to the alcohol treatment facility that they may need.
The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 requires many federal contractors to agree to provide a drug-free workplace – and many other companies follow the same act in order to provide a safer and healthier working environment.
While you want to identify problems, you also want to avoid jumping to any conclusions. It’s not uncommon to see beer bottles on a job site. They may have a celebratory beer after work once they’ve gotten their work done or they may have a single beer with lunch. While you might prefer that they don’t drink on the job site at all, you may want to go easy if they’re doing a good job. Once you make an accusation, you can’t take it back. Be sure you know that they’re using drugs or alcohol while they’re on the clock – and if you have evidence of their usage, be sure to use it when you have a conversation with them.
Work on Finding New Contractors
Obviously, you cannot allow contractors to continue to use drugs and/or alcohol on the job. You’ll need to get them replaced as soon as possible. Let them know that they are not to return to the site – and ensure that you or any foreman on the job site knows this. While you want to get them the help for alcoholics that they need, you cannot allow them to keep working once you’ve discovered that they’re using.
In some instances, you may need to get a lawyer involved if a contractor doesn’t want to leave the site or if they don’t want to refund you the money that you have paid upfront. Many contractors don’t want to admit that they have a problem and they don’t want to lose the business. They could end up becoming a nightmare for your home renovation project – and that’s when it’s best to hire a lawyer to deal with the problems for you.
Find contractors who will get the job done. When you bring in new contractors, they may question why the work is already partially finished. Simply identify that you had to replace the previous contractors. Don’t name names and don’t call them out for using alcohol or drugs on the job. They’re going through enough due to their addiction – don’t make it any harder for them by dragging their reputation through the mud.
It’s important that you follow up with your contractors and subcontractors to ensure that the job gets done and that everyone is taken care of. Be sure that the person(s) in question are getting the help that they need so that they don’t cause problems on the next job site they work at. Additionally, you want to be sure that your job is getting done. Work with the new contractors to maintain your timetable. And, when possible, be sure that you’re only working with companies that have a strict drug testing policy in place so you can (hopefully) avoid major problems in the future.
Bio: Allen Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them. If you want to find more articles by Patrick, you can find them on his personal blog or in Sunshine Behavioral Health.