The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance announced this week that a supplement to the ANSI/APSP/ICC/NPC-12 2016...
The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance has awarded the 2019 Dr. R. Neil Lowry Grant to the Pueblo Department...
The Texas legislature has passed HB 2858, which allows municipalities in the state to require...
Back in 2003, a service guy I know rolled his truck in heavy rush-hour traffic on one of L.A.’s busiest freeways. He was carrying cal hypo, an extremely flammable form of chlorine, which mixed with some other pool chemicals during the crash and caught fire. The freeway had to be shut down for four hours in both directions while a hazmat crew dealt with the cleanup. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured.
He was found to be high on meth and alcohol at the time of the accident. It was his third DUI and by the time I met him, he rightly considered himself lucky to be alive. One day he showed me the “bill” for the cost of the incident — it was north of half a million dollars, which actually struck me as a bargain given the circumstances. Most tragic of all, he had a wife and two young children who were forced to manage in his absence during the years it took him to regain his freedom.
I share this story for a couple of reasons. First, it illustrates the devastation that substance abuse can cause in a life and the risks it can pose to others. But beyond that, it also shows that many jobs in the pool and spa industry add layers of risk to an impaired employee situation. These jobs can involve driving, working with machinery and transporting hazardous chemicals, as well as access to private property. As my story illustrates, being impaired in that work environment can be catastrophic.
Given that our industry is currently facing what many characterize as a severe labor shortage, questions of how you choose to manage your workforce become amplified in importance. One of the toughest issues for companies of all stripes, in and out of the industry, is what to do when it comes to drug testing and how to otherwise manage substance abuse issues in the workplace.
RELATED: Workplace Drug Abuse: Reducing the Risk of Impaired Workers
Company and client interests must be protected, but at the same time, needlessly stringent edicts can have a negative impact on company culture and infringe upon employees’ personal freedoms. What’s the right balance? Specifically, does it make sense to drug-test new hires or random-test employees? What measures and procedures do you have in place to deal with an employee who shows signs of a problem?
Those are all difficult questions based on a range of factors from the nature of the business to the beliefs of those in charge.
Personally, I’m opposed to mandatory drug testing as a starting point. If there’s no reason to believe a new hire or an existing employee has a problem, they deserve the benefit of the doubt, as do we all. Taken another way, I think it’s wrong to manage everyone based on the problems of the few. I’m all for conducting a background check when hiring and maintaining a zero-tolerance policy for inebriation in the workplace. But at the same time, dictating personal behavior during off hours does not make practical sense for people who have never demonstrated a problem.
That being said, if I was to hire a guy with a history like the service tech in the story that opened this column, there’s no question drug testing would be part of the deal. And in his case, it probably should be for the rest of his life, no matter the line of work.
If that sounds somewhat conflicted, guilty as charged. But that’s the nature of addiction. It creates both the brightest of lines and most bedeviling of ambiguities, all at the same time. Deciding how to structure an effective company policy is not an easy matter, but it’s important.
Many of us may have had the unfortunate experience of adding soda ash "wrong" to pool water, resulting in a pool that looks like it is filled with milk. In fact, we refer to it as "milking" a pool. Why does that happen?
When we decide, for example, to raise the pH of a pool from 7.2 to 7.6, we calculate how much soda ash is required for that size pool to achieve a 0.4 pH unit increase. A solution of soda ash (sodium carbonate) has a pH of above 11, so when added to pool water the pH...
The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance announced this week that a supplement to the ANSI/APSP/ICC/NPC-12 2016 Standard for the Plastering of Swimming Pools and Spas was approved by the American National Standards Institute on May 10. The new supplement impacts the way that industry professionals plaster pools and spas.
"We are excited that our PHTA Standard Writing Committee for the Plastering of Pools and Spas was able to address plastering applications in cold temperatures and further...
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The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance has awarded the 2019 Dr. R. Neil Lowry Grant to the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment at the National Environmental Health Association’s 2019 Annual Education Conference & Exhibition awards ceremony in Nashville, Tenn.
Given in the memory of Dr. Robert Neil Lowry, a...