Hound Labs Blog Cannabis Use in Manufacturing

The Impact of Workday Cannabis Use in Manufacturing

In a manufacturing facility, precision is paramount, and every component in each machine plays a vital role. Amidst the hum of machinery and the daily bustle of workers, there’s an unseen threat lurking — a threat that could disrupt operations, jeopardize safety, and tarnish reputations: workday cannabis use.

In an industry where split-second decisions can mean the difference between success and catastrophe, the consequences of on-the-job substance use are stark. Ensuring workplace safety is not just a legal obligation in the manufacturing industry – it’s a necessity. With intricate processes, heavy machinery, expensive equipment, and high-stakes operations, a single accident can have extensive consequences affecting employee well-being, company reputation, and financial stability. Amidst these challenges, the rise in on-the-job cannabis use poses new and complex risks for employers.


Results from a recent Hound Labs survey of more than 500 employees who use cannabis during or before work confirm what many employers have long suspected: cannabis use in the workplace is a pervasive issue, posing significant challenges to employee safety, productivity, and overall organizational well-being. With over half of respondents admitting to daily cannabis use and a substantial proportion consuming on the job or during their commute, the urgency for employers to address this issue has never been more pressing.

Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) also paints a concerning picture of substance abuse trends in the United States. Marijuana use is on the rise, with more than 61.9 million Americans admitting to its use in 2022 alone. The NSDUH also reveals that the number of people using marijuana in the month prior to being surveyed increased from 36.9 million in 2021 to 42.3 million in 2022.


The current wave of cannabis legalization has ushered in a new era of the drug’s accessibility and use among employees, posing significant risks to workplace safety. As manufacturing employers strive to uphold safety standards, optimize operations, and navigate a tight labor market, the prevalence of cannabis use among employees is a critical obstacle. According to our survey findings, nearly half of respondents admit to using cannabis while at work, either during breaks or while actively engaged in their tasks. Additionally, 31% confess to using cannabis during their commute to the workplace. Considering the priorities of the manufacturing industry, these statistics underscore the magnitude of the challenge facing manufacturing employers and the importance of implementing effective drug testing measures.

Let’s delve deeper into the key priorities currently influencing the landscape of manufacturing:

  • Risk Mitigation Strategies: Enhancing employee safety and productivity stands as the cornerstone of the manufacturing industry’s quest for operational excellence. With the inherent risks associated with complex machinery, hazardous materials, and high-speed operations, companies are increasingly focused on proactive measures such as recent use drug testing to mitigate risks and create a secure environment for their workforce. 
  • Operational Streamlining: Efficiency is the lifeblood of modern manufacturing, driving companies to streamline operations, trim excess waste, and optimize costs to stay competitive in a rapidly evolving market. Employers can’t risk the loss of productivity attributed to unsafe or sluggish employees who’ve used cannabis on the job.
  • Labor Market Dynamics: Navigating the complexities of a tight labor market while retaining a valued and skilled workforce represents a pivotal challenge for manufacturing firms today. Employers are seeking new drug tests to help identify workday cannabis use while aligning with emerging state laws that prohibit penalizing employees for off-duty marijuana use.

While federal regulations do not mandate drug testing for privately-owned manufacturing companies, the majority have established drug testing policies to uphold workplace safety standards. Organizations like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) advocate for reasonable drug testing programs, particularly in safety-sensitive environments such as manufacturing facilities. “Employers have a legal responsibility to protect employees from workplace illness or injury under the OSHA general duty clause. Employers also have an ethical responsibility to prevent impaired workers from exposing themselves, their co-workers, and/or the general public to risk and harm,” states the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

With cannabis accounting for more than half of all positive drug tests, the need for robust testing policies and programs is evident, especially in industries where a single accident can have catastrophic consequences. However, traditional drug tests with lengthy detection windows fall short in providing manufacturing employers with timely and relevant insights necessary for informed decision-making.


The implications of on-the-job cannabis use extend far beyond individual behavior, impacting workplace safety, productivity, and overall organizational performance. A single workplace accident can have far-reaching consequences, leading to significant financial liabilities, reputational damage, and operational disruptions. With over 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported annually, the importance of drug testing in ensuring workplace safety cannot be overstated.

The HOUND® CANNABIS BREATHALYZER is an innovative drug testing solution designed to address the unique challenges posed by workday cannabis use in manufacturing settings. This advanced technology offers accurate, reliable, and efficient detection of recent cannabis use, supporting drug testing policies that prohibit workday use. Unlike traditional drug tests such as oral fluid, urine, and hair that have detection windows lasting days, weeks, or months after use, the HOUND® CANNABIS BREATHALYZER isolates detection to use within a narrow window of 2-3 hours. With the ability to accurately identify on-the-job cannabis use, breath testing provides manufacturing employers with the insights needed to mitigate risks, uphold safety standards, and make informed hiring and employment decisions.


As manufacturing employers navigate the complexities of the modern workplace, drug testing programs will remain critical risk mitigation tools to ensure workplace safety and maintain operational efficiency. With the prevalence of workday cannabis use among employees on the rise, investing in innovative drug testing solutions like cannabis breath testing is essential. By leveraging advanced technologies to detect and deter on-the-job substance use, manufacturing employers can uphold safety standards, protect their workforce, and ensure the continued success and resilience of their organizations.

The question is no longer whether employees are choosing to use cannabis on the job, but what employers can do to prevent it. Connect with our team or watch this webinar to learn how our recent use breath test can help you deter and detect workday cannabis use.  


May 9, 2024

Chief Revenue Officer