oa Journal of Construction Project Management and Innovation - Marijuana use within the construction workforce : theoretical considerations and a research proposal

Volume 7 Number 2
  • ISSN : 2223-7852



Alcohol and recreational drug use in construction is an area of growing concern. Workers are often found to have a higher prevalence of such behaviours than workers in other industries. Potential reasons for this are many. The social determinants of health negatively associated with work (the reasons why people drink or take recreational drugs) can be readily identified in construction work with temporary contracts, long working hours, and a lack of employment security for work within high-pressure and high-hazard environments. The legalisation of marijuana in several states of America has led to concerns from industry that there will be an increase in use amongst the local workforce, but it has also created the opportunity to study this phenomenon without ethical constraints regarding legality that may occur in other countries. This paper, presented for discussion rather than the dissemination of completed work, explores the theoretical issues that surround marijuana use within construction, focusing on its impact on construction site safety. This includes necessary considerations of accident causality, worker impairment, and physiological issues concerning the drug itself, as well as inherent problems with drug testing, and its effectiveness as a means of management control. This critical contextual review has been used to inform the development and proposal of a methodological approach to effectively examine this phenomenon empirically in the field, as part of a future research project to be undertaken in Colorado, USA.

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