The vast majority of drug users are employed, and when they arrive for work, they don't leave their problems at the door. Of the 17.2 million illicit drug users aged 18 or older in 2005, 12.9 million (74.8 percent) were employed either full or part time. Furthermore, research indicates that between 10 and 20 percent of the nation's workers who die on the job test positive for alcohol or other drugs. In fact, industries with the highest rates of drug use are the same as those at a high risk for occupational injuries, such as construction, mining, manufacturing and wholesale.
 
OSHA recognizes that impairment by drug or alcohol use can constitute an avoidable workplace hazard and that drug-free workplace programs can help improve worker safety and health and add value to American businesses. OSHA strongly supports comprehensive drug-free workforce programs, especially within certain workplace environments, such as those involving safety-sensitive duties like operating machinery.
 
A comprehensive drug-free workforce approach includes five components—a policy, supervisor training, employee education, employee assistance, and drug testing. Such programs, especially when drug testing is included, must be reasonable and take into consideration employee rights to privacy.
 
OSHA understands that many workers with substance abuse problems can be returned safely to the workplace provided they have access to appropriate treatment, continuing care and supportive services.
 
Although not required by OSHA, drug-free workplace programs are natural compliments to other initiatives that help ensure safe and healthy workplaces and add value to America’s businesses and communities.