Robert Ullman

Some of the most promising potential field employees of TriplePoint Design/Build never get hired because they fail, or vanish after being asked to take, the drug test on which their job offer is contingent.

On the bright side, the company, of St. Petersburg, Fla., has never had a workers’ compensation claim filed against it. Its workers’ comp premiums are low, its liability exposure is minimal, and its clients feel a reassuring “comfort level” with the people working in their home, says Neal Fiske, CEO.

TriplePoint’s zero-tolerance program has “solved our concerns about the prevalence of substance abuse in construction,” Fiske says.

Testing Policy

Working with his insurer and LabCorp, which has walk-in facilities nationwide, Fiske developed a policy that requires prospective employees to pass a urine test; prohibits “the possession, use, sale, or transfer of illegal drugs or alcohol” during working hours or on company premises; and states that if an employee is injured on the job, she or he will be tested. “If they test positive, not only are they ineligible for workers’ comp, but we would dismiss them,” he says.

The result is the company’s stellar safety record (further reinforced through monthly safety meetings), significant discounts in workers’ comp premiums, and productive, alert staff who relate well with clients.

Ironically, Fiske says, the policy has invalidated “some of the candidates we were most excited about. You can have somebody who talks great, looks great on paper, and doesn’t flinch when we say we have this program,” in the initial screening. But “we never hear from them again” after the last interview, when they are sent to the lab for the final step in the hiring process.

Actual employees, however, “embrace” the program, he says.

LabCorp charges about $35 per test, Fiske says.

—Leah Thayer, senior editor, REMODELING.