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Study: One-third of applicants for Pa. manufacturing jobs fail, refuse drug test

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One-third of all applicants for jobs in Pennsylvania's manufacturing sector fail or refuse to take a drug test, according to a new study.

The study by the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association, and conducted by Tel Opinion Research, surveyed 200 manufacturing business executives on their companies’ experience with drug testing and its impact on their workforce.

The results indicate drug use by both potential and current workers "is a legitimate concern facing the manufacturing sector in Pennsylvania," the PMA said in a news release.

The executives reported that 19 percent of job applicants either refused to take a drug test or did not show up for a drug test that was required as a condition of employment.

The fact that nearly 1 in 5 potential employees are not able to complete the required pre-employment drug test underscores the difficulty many employers face in finding reliable and dependable workers, PMA noted. Combined with the shortage of skilled workers, employers report that more than 8,000 Pennsylvania manufacturing jobsremain unfilled, the PMA added.

The manufacturing business executives reported that 16 percent of potential employees who take a drug test fail to pass, thus making them ineligible for employment.

The survey indicated that 60 percent of the businesses polled used random drug screenings as a condition of employment. The number increased to 70 percent among companies with more than 50 employees, the PMA said.

Safety concerns precipitate the need for drug testing, the PMA said.

In June 2013, a crane operator in Philadelphia tested positive for marijuana after he allegedly caused a building collapse that killed six people.

In a positive trend, surveys indicate that fewer employees are lost due to random screenings once employed than are lost in the hiring process, the release said.

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