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8 Industries That Need to Drug Test for Jobs — and Why

drug test for job


When it comes to ensuring workplace safety and productivity, many industries require applicants to pass a drug test for job applications or ongoing employment. This isn’t just a formality or red tape — drug testing can be a vital step in reducing risk and preventing incidents on the job. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, drug and alcohol abuse contributes to 65% of workplace accidents.

To put this into context, let's explore the sectors where drug testing is a crucial safety protocol and unpack the reasons behind these requirements.

1. Transport

In the transport industry, the safety of countless lives often rests in the hands of a single individual. Whether it's a bus driver, pilot, or train operator, the consequences of impaired judgment due to substance abuse can be catastrophic. 

There have been multiple cases where drug use by pilots, train operators, or bus drivers has led to accidents. For instance, in early 2024, a drunk school bus driver caused a devastating accident in India, killing six students and injuring 21 others. Drug testing helps prevent similar scenarios and ensures that transport professionals can safely manage the vehicles that carry millions of people daily.

2. Healthcare

Healthcare professionals hold the health and well-being of their patients in their hands. However, drug use in healthcare settings can lead to significant errors in patient care. Impaired healthcare professionals have been known to administer incorrect dosages or mix up patient treatments, leading to severe health consequences.

Drug testing is crucial to ensure that staff can perform their duties carefully and precisely. From surgeons to nurses, a drug-free environment helps maintain the highest patient care and trust standards.

3. Construction

The construction sector is fraught with potential hazards, from heavy machinery to high-risk tasks. So it’s no surprise that this industry has seen incidents where drug use has resulted in severe mistakes. Workers under the influence have a reduced ability to focus, react, and make decisions. This increases the risk of accidents, jeopardizing both project success and human life.

In 2020, the incidence rate for nonfatal falls, slips, or trips was higher for construction laborers (52.5 cases per 10,000 full-time workers) than all workers (22.9 cases). Drug testing is critical in this field to prevent accidents that could lead to setbacks, serious injuries, or even fatalities. Ensuring that workers are not under the influence of drugs is a key factor in minimizing workplace accidents and enhancing overall safety on construction sites.

4. Education

Educators and staff in the academic sector are role models for young minds, making it vital to maintain a drug-free environment. Drug testing can help ensure that the individuals shaping future generations perform their duties responsibly and set a positive example.

Safety is also an issue regarding sober, clear-headed staff in our schools. Consider a chemistry teacher who leads class experiments with dangerous, reactive substances or a shop teacher who guides students through the use of hazardous tools and machinery. It’s vital that these educators are able to handle their curricula safely. Furthermore, any staff member must be sober and ready to guide students in the case of an emergency.

5. Manufacturing

Drug testing is essential in manufacturing, where precision and attention to detail can affect product quality and worker safety. In the past, workers under the influence have caused major industrial incidents—sometimes involving chemical spills, product contamination, or even explosions—due to impaired handling of machinery or materials. Drug testing helps prevent these accidents, safeguarding the workers, the products, and the end consumers of manufactured goods.

6. Quarrying and Mining

From the get-go, quarrying and mining are already among the most dangerous industries on the planet due to the inherent risks of the work environment. In addition to the difficulty of using heavy machinery in unforgiving spaces, mines can be subject to harmful contaminants, extreme temperatures, and the ever-present risk of cave-ins.

To make matters worse, this sector has seen accidents exacerbated by drug use, where workers’ impaired judgment or slowed reaction times have led to mishaps that could have been avoided. Drug testing is critical to ensure that all personnel are alert and aware, capable of safely responding to emergencies or operating machinery.

7. Law Enforcement and Security

For law enforcement and security personnel, being alert and having sound judgment can mean the difference between life and death. For instance, there have been instances where drug use by law enforcement officers has compromised their ability to perform their duties effectively, sometimes resulting in wrongful arrests or mishandling of situations that could escalate into more serious incidents.

Drug testing is paramount to ensure that these professionals can reliably protect the public and themselves in potentially dangerous situations. Moreover, law enforcement officers must be sober and above reproach when making split-second decisions, upholding human rights, and handling evidence.

8. Government and Civil Service

Employees in government and civil service roles often handle sensitive or classified information and make decisions that can affect thousands, if not millions of people. Naturally, they should do so with unclouded judgment. Drug testing in these fields ensures that public servants can perform their duties with integrity and without impairment.

Support Workplace Safety with Reliable Drug Screens

In these and many other industries, requiring a drug test for job applicants or instituting random drug testing for employees is not about distrust — it’s about upholding standards of safety, performance, and reliability. Whether workers are operating on a patient, teaching children, or constructing buildings, the clear-headedness ensured by drug testing is indispensable. Each industry has its own set of risks and responsibilities, and maintaining a drug-free environment helps mitigate these risks while ensuring that operations run smoothly and safely.

Best of all, implementing your workplace drug testing program doesn’t have to be difficult. Whether you’re interested in on-site testing or more intensive, lab-tested results, Countrywide Testing has drug testing services to suit your needs.

Countrywide offers various drug testing products for workplace testing, healthcare emergencies, law enforcement purposes, and individuals trying to stay clean after rehab. Our on-site drug testing kits are convenient and affordable and ship to you quickly. Plus, our lab is accredited by SAMHSA, so you can rest assured that your test results are handled according to the highest industry standards.

Want more information on how Countrywide can support your organization’s drug testing program? Just contact our team today.