Over the past several years, legalized marijuana has been a hot button topic at any HR webinar, seminar, or conference that I’ve attended.  I’ve heard the statistics and listened to the concerns, and the only things that remain constant through each training is that the laws surrounding legalized marijuana are forever changing.  A head-scratcher that keeps HR Managers, like me, on their toes – so much is still unknown around legalized marijuana.

As employers, what we must focus on is how marijuana use may be impacting the safety of our employees.  THC in marijuana affects reaction time, depth perception, coordination and other motor skills as well as creates sensory distortion.  If you are anything like me, coordination is a concern on any given day (you should see my dance moves). When you have an employee using marijuana and ask him or her to operate machinery, drive a forklift, or handle a client’s expensive tools and equipment, the circumstances could be costly, but also deadly.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse recently conducted a study that found that employees who tested positive for marijuana had 55% more industrial accidents, 85% more injuries, and 75% greater absenteeism compared to those who tested negative.

As the laws evolve, PMG will continue to be a drug- and alcohol-free company.  No matter how everything develops, safety will ALWAYS be a bullet on every employee’s job description, we can guarantee you that.

About the Author

Meet Richard Y., a Diesel Assembly Technician and Mechanic at PMG. Richard is currently working his fourth project at PMG. Learn more about him in the Q&A session below!

Q&A with Richard

How long have you been working in manufacturing?

I have been working in manufacturing for a little over a year now.

What drew you to the trade?

Being able to work with my hands. I love building stuff and knowing how they work.

Have you had any formal training?

Yes. I have 8 years experience as a heavy equipment mechanic.

Before working at PMG, what was the most interesting job you’ve ever had?

Working as a detention officer. It was very demanding.

What do you like most about working for PMG?

Traveling and meeting new people.

What is one thing you miss or wish you had with you while on the road?

Being able to cook in a full size kitchen.

How do you balance your career at PMG and family?

I take time off during the holidays to spend time with family.

What are some career lessons you’ve learned thus far?

Always have an open mind. There’s a lot you can learn from each job that you take on.

When you’re not working, what sort of hobbies do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy doing things outside. Hiking, camping, mountain biking, and also exploring new places.

What is something fun you’re looking forward to in 2019?

Hopefully exploring more of the east coast while working with PMG.

It’s no secret that manufacturing has an image problem that is preventing younger generations from not only pursuing, but even considering a career in manufacturing. At times, it can be an uphill battle to get the current generation to see the opportunities available to them. With Father’s Day right around the corner, I thought now would be a perfect time to address some of these myths and misconceptions and shine some light on manufacturing truths.

Watch our webinar Myths & Misconceptions in Manufacturing to learn more!

Jobs in Manufacturing are unsafe

Safety ratings for careers in this industry improved throughout the last century and that focus and improvement will continue throughout the next for several reasons:

  • Unsafe factories are unprofitable factories and profit drives improvement.
  • OSHA, MSHA, and other regulatory bodies. There is a greater focus, and enforcement, placed on safety in the workplace than ever before and it shows.
  • Robots aren’t going to take your jobs but they are already taking the dangerous ones.

Jobs in Manufacturing are dirty

Dirty Jobs is a TV show, not the reality of American production facilities.

  • The focus on safety from within the industry and governmental bodies naturally leads to a cleaner workplace. Clean factories are safe factories.
  • Modern production methods and materials often require clean room type environments by necessity.
  • The realities of modern hiring often require a clean environment to show. Everyone has to keep up with the Jones in the fight for new talent – even manufacturers.

Jobs in Manufacturing are low-skill, low-paying, and boring

Hello, have you heard of the Skills Gap? Its very existence refutes the unskilled point.

  • High skill equals high pay. This sector is seeing growth in demand AND wages and we have the skills gap to thank for that.
  • There is no industry where you are more likely to receive on the job training or continuing education opportunities from your employer than this one. Workforce reinvestment is a continuous driver of both wage and skill growth.
  • Remember robots? Their presence in the industry may be making our jobs safer and physically easier, but they are doing that primarily by replacing the LOW skilled jobs. This means, the positions requiring higher skill sets make up a disproportionately higher percentage of all sector jobs than they did in previous generations where automation was less prevalent.

Jobs in Manufacturing are unfriendly to female and minority employees

To put it plainly, manufacturing is still an industry dominated in America by white males, but that is changing.

  • 29 percent of women in 2017 (compared to 12 percent in 2015) think the school system actively/somewhat encourages female students to pursue a career in the manufacturing industry.
  • 42 percent of women in 2017 (compared to 24 percent in 2015) are now ready to encourage their daughter or female family member to pursue a career in their industry.
  • More than half of women (58 percent) have observed some positive changes in their industry’s attitude towards female professional employees, over the last five years.
  • Minority representation in the workforce has doubled since 1980 (from 18% to almost 40%) and Hispanic/Latino representation specifically has nearly tripled during that same time period.

Robots are going to take all the jobs

Robots will not take away all positions in manufacturing, but the ever-increasing prevalence of automation, IoT, predictive analytics, additive manufacturing, virtual/augmented/mixed reality, will change them consistently and continuously throughout your career by making those jobs

  • Safer
  • More Productive
  • More Interesting
  • Higher Paying

To learn more about the impact technology will have on manufacturing, check out our webinar Manufacturing in the future: the changes yet to come

Josh Erickson, ReTool & Technical Solutions Associate