If you’re thinking about becoming a welder and you’re concerned about drug tests, then you’ve come to the right place.
Since marijuana has been approved for recreational use in many states, some of the new laws surrounding these questions are a bit murky.
Of course, you don’t want to be using any substances when you are busy welding since welding requires you to be reactive and sober.
However, many people still feel that what people do on the weekends is their business.
Do welding jobs need drug tests? Yes. Some welding jobs do require drug tests. There is no way to know whether a company will drug test you or not unless you ask about the company’s specific policy. Some companies have recently changed their policies to be more accepting of marijuana, while others have not.
Since there isn’t much information on the Internet today explaining whether or not welders should be drug tested, we created this article to help you out.
Below we’ll explain how some of the standards in drug testing have changed and what you can expect in case you are asked to take a drug test as a welder.
Do Welding Jobs Need Drug Tests?
Some welding jobs require drug tests, while others do not. Some individuals feel that welders should be drug tested since they work with very dangerous chemicals and high-temperature flames.
Of course, it’s important to be sober on the job while you are welding. However, some people still feel that others should be allowed freedom during their recreational time.
We’ll explain this fact and how things are changing in the realm of the drug testing world below. Currently, pot is legal in nine states as well as in Washington, D.C. Now, over one in five Americans utilizes cannabis in one of its forms:
As this has occurred, we’ve seen a decline in pre-employment drug screens.
Previously, for many decades, drug testing was a requirement for many people in several industries, including welding and manufacturing.
Some welders also drive and operate commercial motor vehicles, while others do not.
So, we’ll explain in a bit more detail how driving a commercial motor vehicle might affect you, and we’ll also cover what you’ll need to know even if you don’t.
Commercial Motor Vehicles
Some welders that work in construction or manufacturing also operate commercial motor vehicles. If that’s the case for you and your job, you’ll likely be drug tested.
That’s because if you have a CDL, nothing has changed in the realm of drug testing and the illegal use of marijuana while driving.
Under federal law, pot is still illegal and considered a Schedule I controlled substance. So, many welders that also operate commercial vehicles understand they have to stop smoking marijuana.
The Department of Transportation outlines drug testing regulations for commercial drivers and prohibits the use of marijuana of any kind.
Furthermore, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says on its website that any commercial driver using medical marijuana, even if it’s prescribed, can’t be certified. That’s also true if you recreationally use marijuana.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a driver only qualifies to operate a commercial vehicle if they don’t use any drug or substance that falls under Schedule I (which cannabis does), a narcotic, or an amphetamine.
If You Don’t Drive
However, what can you expect if you don’t drive a commercial vehicle? If you’re a welder and you just drive your car to and from work, then you’re in a murky situation.
Companies are allowed to keep zero-tolerance policies that won’t allow a non-driving employee to use pot, even if you only smoke your weed when you are not working.
While it’s legal under state law to smoke when you aren’t working, it makes it difficult for people to tell if you are sober while you are working.
The Colorado Supreme Court recently upheld a decision that says a company can fire a person that fails a drug test even if they are using marijuana for medical purposes.
An employee living in that state was using medical marijuana after receiving his state-issued license through a doctor to treat specific medical issues.
This employee stated that he didn’t use pot at work and made sure he wasn’t impaired on the job. The employer didn’t disagree with his point.
However, he was still fired from his job when he didn’t pass a random drug test that was part of his company’s policy. So, this employee sued his former company.
The former employee claimed it was unfair and discriminatory for his boss to fire him based on his “lawful” activities while away from his job and inside his home.
Regardless, the Colorado Supreme Court still sided with the employer and said the statute didn’t cover marijuana since pot is still illegal federally.
Unfortunately, Colorado set a precedent that most states have followed. All of the other state courts that have been faced with this issue have sided with the employers and their decision to create a drug-free workplace.
There is nothing illegal about conducting drug tests, and there is also nothing illegal about firing an employee for failing a drug test.
Although more and more states are decriminalizing marijuana, some employers continue to fire people that fail drug tests, including welders.
Do Underwater Welders Get Drug Tested?
Do underwater welders get drug test? Yes. Absolutely. Welding underwater — or just diving in general — is incredibly dangerous for sober people. Adding drugs on top of that is just tempting fate. So yes, underwater welders are drug tested but the regularity of this will be decided by your employer.
People who are currently on drugs or who have taken drugs recently are a liability not only to themselves but to others as well.
It has been scientifically proven that inebriated individuals are far more likely to injure themselves, cause catastrophic accidents, or damage equipment and property.
You shouldn’t even be thinking about going offshore while intoxicated!
Some Good News for Welders and Fabrication Jobs
There is some good news for welders after covering all of the murkiness with marijuana laws.
Fortunately, many companies, including a few that hire welders, are loosening up on their drug testing laws to make way for the new acceptance of marijuana.
Excellence Health, Inc
One Las Vegas-based company, Excellence Health, Inc, has about 6,000 employees. This company decided to forgo drug testing for those employees that worked in pharmaceuticals.
Then, two years ago, they stopped drug testing entirely.
The company announced that they were no longer concerned with what their employees wanted to do during their free hours.
Also, the company tried to become more proactive about employees that might have real drug problems. They formed a hotline for their employees that might struggle with drugs.
They decided that they’d rather help out those people instead of firing them.
Auto Nation, a company that does routinely hire welders and the largest auto dealer in America, also decided to stop turning down job applicants that had marijuana in their systems.
While this seems to be increasingly becoming the standard, not all welding jobs will be as forgiving if you test positive for weed. Like we mentioned earlier, much of this depends on the company itself.
However, the good news is that many companies that hire welders located in states that have some type of marijuana legalized are starting to eliminate drug testing, or at least drug testing for weed.
In 2019, the Mountain States Employers Council surveyed Colorado employers and found that the companies that still test for pot use are down to sixty-six percent, that’s a decrease of eleven percent from the previous year.
Positives for Employers
Eliminating drug tests presents many positives for employers. For example, using drug tests dramatically reduces the pool of employees you can hire.
As the job market is currently tight, that can harm a company’s ability to grow. Since marijuana has been legalized in some form or the other across many states, it’s made it more difficult to exclude people that are failing drug tests because of pot.
Many employers also feel that drug testing is no longer worth its price in American society today. That’s because we are becoming more accepting of using drugs.
A recent Gallup poll found that 64% of Americans would prefer the full legalization of marijuana. That’s the highest percentage supporting pot since the Gallup poll started asking about marijuana back in 1969.
So, it seems that while drug testing is becoming less common, if you want to know about whether or not a company might drug test you as a welder, simply ask.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few common questions people often have about drug tests for welders:
Can You Say No To a Drug Test?
Employers are allowed to drug test their employees if they have a drug testing policy that everyone knows about and has agreed to.
This may have been giving to you during your induction period or after you’ve been working with the company for a little while.
Can you say no to a drug test? If you have signed this agreement, you are not allowed to refuse a drug test. However, if your employer has recently changed the agreement without your knowledge or you’ve never signed the policy, you can say no.
In these situations, your employer isn’t allowed to take action against you.
Just bear in mind that your boss might become suspicious of your refusal reasons. It’s always best to say yes to the test.
What Drugs Do Standard Drugs Tests Test For?
Standard drug tests conducted under the SAMHSA’s guidelines check for a total of 5 different drugs. Sometimes, alcohol is included in this but the test tends to only look for the following substances:
- Cocaine (otherwise called coke, including crack)
- Opiates (including opium, codeine, heroin, and morphine)
- THC (from cannabinoids, hash, and marijuana)
- Phencyclidine (otherwise called angel dust or PCP)
- Amphetamines (including meth, crank, speed, and ecstasy)
Having any of these in your system when at work, especially when welding, is highly dangerous and downright illegal. This is why many employers insist on conducting a standard drug test.
However, private employers can test for as many drugs as they feel like. So, depending on who your new boss might be, they could test for up to 14 different substances.
Does A Job Have to Tell You They Drug Test?
Does a job have to tell you they drug test? In a word, yes. Your employer must stipulate that they will conduct drug tests. But, this doesn’t mean that you’ll get a warning before the test date. Some companies operate on a random drug test policy which is designed to catch those abusing a substance of guard.
If you have time to prepare for a random test, then it defeats the purpose.
You will (should) know how your new company conducts its tests before commencing employment. How? It will be set out very clearly in your employee handbook, contract, or both.
This is because your boss has to obtain your written consent, which they tend to do by asking you to sign the document.
What Happens If You Fail DOT Drug Test?
What happens if you fail DOT drug test? Failing your DOT drug test is serious. You will lose your job and probably face other pretty unpleasant consequences.
Here is the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations that are carried out if you fail your required DOT drug test:
- You are immediately removed from your DOT covered employment.
- You have to then visit a SAP (otherwise known as a Substance Abuse Professional).
- The SAP will evaluate you.
- Next, you have to participate in and complete rehabilitation or education.
- The SAp will reevaluate you.
- After that, if you want to go back to your DOT covered employment, you need a negative return to duty test.
What Is The Common Employment Drug Test?
What is the common employment drug test? Generally, the most common employment drug test is through urine. To put it bluntly, you have to urinate into a cup which is then sent off for testing.
While this isn’t the most effective way of checking for substances, it’s the cheapest, hence why it’s favored by employers.
These urine tests check for 5 substances:
But, if there has been an incident, companies might invest in a more in-depth test. Usually, this will be done through bloodwork.