QOTD: Should Drug Testing Be Necessary for Plant Work?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Matt raised an interesting question yesterday in his piece on GM’s worker woes.

Specifically, should drug testing even be a thing for plant work when many states are legalizing or at least decriminalizing marijuana?

Matt pointed out that weed is becoming normalized, as normal a vice as booze. But plant work is dangerous. It’s one thing to say workers shouldn’t be tested because society is now more permissive of marijuana use. It’s another to be concerned that a worker may choose to toke up on his/her lunch break and not be in full control of their faculties as they finish their shift. Resulting in possible injury or manufacturing defects.

Don’t forget, I saw a wheel fall off a car and while I don’t know if the tech was high at the time, he was fired in part because he failed the drug test that any dealership worker is forced to go through after such an incident (I had to do it after clipping a bollard once, but I passed as I was not high. Just klutzy).

On the other hand, if most workers can be trusted to not show up drunk, can’t most be trusted to show up not high? Aren’t most adults capable of refraining from indulging in their vices until after work?

So, does GM continue to drug test because of outdated attitudes towards marijuana, or is safety at issue? Or both? Should GM loosen up and party down, or are safety and quality too important to risk, even if few employees would likely be impaired on the job?

[Image: GM]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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4 of 43 comments
  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Jun 16, 2021

    There is a huge difference between being baked on the job and some weed on Saturday night and unfortunately the current system penalizes the person who isn’t causing a problem

  • Crosley Crosley on Jun 17, 2021

    I had a relative die in a factory accident because of someone intoxicated at a plant. He caused a large fire. So yes, I think it should be mandatory.

  • Jdmcomp Jdmcomp on Jun 18, 2021

    Hell no, no screening. Lets go back to the glory days of the 70s land 80s when cars were built to (fill in the blank) rust, fall apart, leak, blow up, shed paint, rattle, shake, roll, ect.

  • Golden2husky Golden2husky on Jun 19, 2021

    Absolutely not. A job does not mean your employer has any right to know what you do after work. Showing up wasted is a different story, but if you are sober, on time, and fully capable of doing your job then they should butt out of you life. I have to laugh with this "weed is bad" sentiment. I'll bet a lot more productivity has been lost to hungover people than those who got high the night before.