More people are high on the job, and it’s putting the public’s health and safety on the line.
One in three industries experienced double-digit percentage increases in the share of workers testing positive for a range of drugs between 2015 and 2018, according to a new analysis of more than 14 million urine drug tests results from Quest Diagnostics, a company that provides laboratory tests.
The transportation and warehousing sector had the largest increase in failed workforce drug tests, with a 34.5% uptick between 2015 and 2018. This sector includes everything from postal workers and pilots to public-transportation employees and truck drivers.
Other industries that experienced notable increases included wholesale trade (20%), retail trade (14.9%) and construction (13.2%).
Retail trade had the highest rate of workforce tests that came back positive for drug use, at 5.4% in 2018. That’s higher than the national rate of 5.1%.
“Drug use by the nation’s workforce is growing across a broad swath of industries,” Barry Sample, senior director of science and technology at Quest Diagnostics DGX, -0.83% , said in the report.
“Of particular concern are sharp jumps in positivity rates seen in sectors like transportation and warehousing and construction that directly affect public safety,” Sample said. “Staying vigilant and providing support for employees who test positive for drug use are key for employers seeking to maintain a safe, healthy workforce.”
Marijuana use is particularly becoming a concern
Marijuana was the most commonly detected drug in most sectors. The rates of positive tests for marijuana increased by double-digits for eight of the 17 sectors studied, including transportation and warehousing (up 53.3%), mining (up 50%), construction (up 46.7%) and manufacturing (up 38.5%).
The sector that displayed the highest rate of marijuana use among