Drug tests and civl engineering jobs

<p>How common are drug tests for engineering jobs, and how are those tests administered? I'm a civil engineering major, and I've heard unpleasant stories from some former students. One of them is in the construction industry, and he says that he's randomly tested every month or so "for safety reasons". Another one was a former athlete, and he says that he's tested more often than when he was actually competing. He's still runs about an hour each day as a hobby, and he's complaining that those blood tests are making his workouts much tougher. Are those cases exceptions, or are blood tests quite common for civil engineers?</p>

<p>Also, are employees allowed to have alternatives to blood tests? Will a request to have a urine test or a hair sample test be denied? I'm not worried about testing positive - the only drugs I've taken are antibiotics when I'm sick and an occasional sip of wine. What I am worried about is those blood tests, because I have a morbid fear of needles.</p>

<p>I've had many drug tests in engineering and never had a blood test. Only a urine test.</p>

<p>My experience is companies test you prior to hiring you and then test you if you are involved in an engineering accident. One company did a few random tests but my number was never called.</p>

<p>Don't sweat it.</p>

<p>I've never heard of a company administering random BLOOD tests. Urine tests, however, are somewhat common.</p>

<p>Thanks for the responses; that helped eliminate one of my worries.</p>

<p>Never had blood test. Only urine test...</p>

<p>I always assumed I'd get a single urine test right after being hired. Aside from that, I'm not gonna work for a company that feels like it needs to invade my personal life.</p>

<p>
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Aside from that, I'm not gonna work for a company that feels like it needs to invade my personal life.

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If you work in a dangerous environment where a screw-up can have dire consequences, I'd actually want to work somewhere where people get tested on a regular basis. Would you want to be killed because one of your colleagues is high and went oops? </p>

<p>With that being said, most civil engineering positions, including those in the construction industry don't have random drug tests after the first one.</p>

<p>I've only had urine tests, no blood tests.</p>

<p>Who says someone who get high on their off time is going to be high at work?
It is no different that someone who drinks whiskey, as long as they know when to drink and not to drink alcohol related accidents on the job wont happen.</p>

<p>Had an initial urine test when I joined each of the two companies I've worked for, and then for a few big-name clients after that.</p>

<p>In the clients' defense, once I passed the drug test and background check, they gave me RFID cards that allowed me full access to their facilities, so it was essentially that they were bringing me on as an employee. I have about five freaking badges that I have to actively shuffle between right now for various clients.</p>

<p>We do have random drug testing here, but it's rare that you get tapped out.</p>

<p>I'm a card-carrying ACLU member, so I'm all about personal freedoms and the right to privacy, but since we design things like baby hospitals and it would be best that we weren't HIGH while doing it (time off? WHAT time off?)... I'm pretty understanding of the policy. It's a small, one-time inconvenience for me, in comparison to the liability that my company and clients take on by giving me full backstage passes to delve into the inner workings of their buildings. (The places they let me go, I could wreak some serious havoc.)</p>

<p>It's not about what you do on your own time. It's limiting the liability of the companies who, in turn, give you enormous power over public safety.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Who says someone who get high on their off time is going to be high at work?
It is no different that someone who drinks whiskey, as long as they know when to drink and not to drink alcohol related accidents on the job wont happen.

[/quote]

How would you feel if airline pilots, crane operators, police officers and firefighters were high during their off time?</p>

<p>Why should I be caring about what those people choose to do in their free time?</p>

<p>Because they are beholden to ensuring the safety of the general public, just as we are. We're stewards of public safety.</p>

<p>Even when I leave the office, I'm an engineer. If I go up to a building owner on my own time and say, "Hey, your wall looks a little tilty..." then I've assumed liability for that assessment, and have opened myself up to a potential lawsuit against myself and my company if something goes fubar.</p>

<p>A lot of, if not all, off-duty police officers are required to carry their weapons.</p>

<p>With these sorts of jobs where you're a steward of public safety, the lines blur as to how "free" your "free time" actually is.</p>

<p>It has little to do with regulating what they do in their off-duty time.</p>

<p>It has a lot to do with the potential for off-duty behavior affects judgement, reason, decision making while working.</p>

<p>Drugs mess up a persons personality. They take away rationale decision making skills. They cause volatility. They generally degrade a persons ability to make excellent decisions, even when they are not actually high on drugs.</p>

<p>Drug use also creates a temptation to steal from the employer because significant amounts of cash are needed to buy drugs. </p>

<p>And many people tie illegal drug use with other crimes and criminal behavior.</p>

<p>When you're at work, you need people you can trust and can count on.</p>

<p>wouldnt then apply to alcohol too?</p>

<p>Yes, it applies to alcohol as well. </p>

<p>A positive urine screen for alcohol will sometimes (I have no idea how often) disqualify a person from employment. And a person will get fired if they have sufficient alcohol in their system during on-work drug test.</p>

<p>Drinking a couple beers with dinner usually doens't get an engineer fired.</p>

<p>If someone walks in with alcohol on their breath, you'd better believe they're going to be sent packing for the day, and that HR will have a serious talk with them. Drunk-designing is like drunk-driving.</p>

<p>We've never had a problem with alcohol on the job since I've been here. Partying happens only after 5PM Fridays (and I just got an e-mail from some coworkers proposing a 5PM Happy Hour, which is not an infrequent occurrence), and you'd better be over your hangover by Monday morning because the numbers are going to start flying at you again.</p>

<p>(While plastered, I once told a friend that her apartment was not up to code because it was spinning, but I don't think she took me seriously, judging by how hard she was laughing... I generally try not to give engineering opinions while under the influence.)</p>

<p>These kinds of situations generally apply to professions with a "critical" component attached to them. To put it simply, a professions where there's a high probability of being called in to work during emergency/urgent situations. </p>

<p>Think off duty police officers, firefighters, medical doctors, nurses, military personnel, aircraft pilots, etc. In many cases, their contracts or terms of employments will disclose how the person must behave in these situations; in other cases, it is an "unwritten rule."</p>

<p>From an ideological viewpoint, I do not care what a person does privately as long as that person's work performance is not affected. From a pragmatic viewpoint, someone, somewhere will ruin it for everyone else hence why these rules are applied.</p>

<p>My concern is that the scope only targets certain vices and not others. Weed smoking cop? Bad and likely to lose job. Donut eating, obese cop? Bad but will be assigned a desk job (I'm certain some of you have seen clearly overweight cops patrolling streets).</p>

<p>In civil engineering, it's the "unwritten rule". The engineering code of ethics is self-written by profession-governed engineering societies, and that code of ethics is adopted by regulatory agencies to give it some teeth.</p>

<p>But generally, we understand the responsibility that we're given. Most code of ethics cases that are called up before the engineering boards have to do with areas that are very gray, where there's no clear-cut right or wrong. If you seriously jack things up, your license is going to be pulled.</p>

<p>What if doing certain drugs (not necessarily weed) actually refreshes people's minds during their off time? That's the way I think of it. Drugs can re-charge the mind, somewhat of a "mental shower," for when you actually DO start working again. If people stop drinking coffee/tea in the morning, or alcohol in their evenings, workload can become too much. Same deal with other substances. The only alternative I can think of is meditation, which I can only manage to pull off for short periods of time...</p>

<p>Just throwing it out there as something to keep in mind ~</p>

<p>
[quote]
What if doing certain drugs (not necessarily weed) actually refreshes people's minds during their off time? That's the way I think of it. Drugs can re-charge the mind, somewhat of a "mental shower," for when you actually DO start working again.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>The cool thing about living in the United States is you are free to think as you wish. If this is what you believe, more power to you.</p>

<p>However, I'd suggest not applying to work at a company that proudly displays a sign proclaiming "drugs don't work here" in the HR office.</p>