Hound Labs Blog Cannabis Testing in Construction

Cannabis Testing in Construction: Reducing Safety Risks + Costs

The construction industry is a diverse and broad field that encompasses a wide range of sectors, from building to heavy construction and specialty trades. With nearly 750 thousand construction companies in the U.S., this industry caters to businesses of all sizes, including small family-run enterprises and large global corporations. Despite their differences, a shared commitment to safety and efficiency unites these companies. This shared commitment helps ensure that, regardless of scale or specialization, all participants work toward common safety goals.

The industry also faces shared challenges, particularly in the space of drug testing and staffing. Each sector within the construction industry must uphold safety standards while maintaining a unique, and in many cases, highly-skilled workforce. Striking a balance between enforcing strict safety protocols through effective drug testing programs and navigating the ever-changing labor market presents a challenge for each sector.


In an industry where split-second decisions and precise coordination are essential, cannabis testing in construction is vital to helping ensure a safe workplace. Testing helps prevent accidents and enhances overall safety by identifying and addressing substance use among workers. Considering construction is among the top five industries with the highest overall rate of past month illicit drug use among full-time employees, it’s clear the industry needs to continue to perform testing. By regularly conducting drug tests, construction companies can deter their employees from coming to work while experiencing the safety-impacting effects of recent drug use, including impaired judgment, delayed reaction times, and overall decreased performance.

There are also immediate and long-term financial implications for drug testing in the construction industry. While drug testing programs may generate costs initially, they can save companies significant resources in the long run. Drug-related accidents can result in lost productivity, increased insurance premiums, and costly legal suits. THC accounts for more than half of all positive drug tests, and companies that don’t drug test are 1.5X more likely to have active cannabis users working for them. By identifying and addressing substance use issues early on, companies can mitigate these risks and maintain consistent productivity levels.

Additionally, the construction industry often faces challenges in attracting skilled workers, and research suggests this need will only continue to grow. According to a recent poll by The Associated General Contractors of America, more than two-thirds of participating construction firms expect to increase their headcount. Having robust drug testing policies in place can help create a competitive advantage in recruiting and retaining top talent. At least one employer has told us that his employees are worried about workday use among their colleagues, sharing, “A growing number of employees are coming to my office and expressing concern about coworkers who use marijuana at their lunch hour during a shift.” Employees are more likely to feel secure and motivated in a workplace that prioritizes safety and holds all workers to the same standards. Cannabis breath testing can help enhance candidate and employee fairness by distinguishing between past marijuana use and recent use that correlates more closely to the workday. 

Finally, the connection between cannabis use and workplace incidents can create significant reputational risks for construction employers. This added challenge is essential to navigate because compliance with drug testing regulations establishes a company’s reputation as responsible and law-abiding which may have a direct impact on recruiting, potential legal woes, and insurance-related issues. Many insurance companies require evidence of drug testing policies, and those companies that comply can benefit from better insurance rates and protection against potential lawsuits.


Faced with a changing industry landscape, construction companies are now recognizing the need to revise traditional zero-tolerance drug policies. The objective is to find a middle ground that upholds safety and risk mitigation without unnecessarily narrowing the hiring pipeline. A crucial part of this solution is adopting more relevant and precise testing methods, such as breath testing for recent cannabis use. Specifically testing for and isolating recent cannabis use is an innovative solution that gives construction employers the ability to recruit and retain employees while continuing drug testing programs that may help reduce costly accidents, absenteeism, performance concerns, and reputational risks.

Here are some key advantages of implementing a cannabis breath test: 

  • Deter workday use and improve workplace safety 
  • Help retain employees and attract qualified candidates 
  • Gain reliable, LC-MS-based lab results utilizing a paperless chain of custody 
  • Administer mess-free and observed collections which limit the possibility of cheating 
  • Remain legally compliant with evolving workplace cannabis laws 
  • Offer an alternative to zero-tolerance drug testing policies  

This solution is available now, and employers of all sizes, industries, and geographies are actively performing testing. Our recent webinar gives a broad overview of the technology, how it works, and the benefits it offers employers.


In industries where a single accident can have major safety, brand, and financial impacts, testing for THC makes sense. But legacy tests with long detection windows may no longer give construction employers the information they need to make informed decisions.

Breath testing, however, offers a solution to help the construction industry balance the need for a safe working environment with the changing legal and social attitudes towards cannabis use. This advanced technology offers a balanced approach to cannabis testing, supporting safety initiatives without overstepping into the personal lives of employees. As the construction industry continues to grow and adapt, embracing innovative solutions like the HOUND® CANNABIS BREATHALYZER will be essential in maintaining the long-standing commitment to safety, efficiency, and workforce development.

Contact Hound Labs today to learn more about how to implement cannabis breath testing into your organization’s future-forward drug testing program.

February 15, 2024

Chief Revenue Officer