One of the problems that plagued me as a contractor was crew members smoking, were cigarettes or pot does not matter. Anyone who has spent time in the business knows that a high percentage of the labor in this field are smokers and/or pot smokers.
I had read reports from the CDC claiming that smoking cost over 100 billion a year in lost productivity, but really wondered if the numbers were valid because government organizations tend to stretch the truth at time.
About 4 years ago a friend of mine (who recently passed away) who was still a contractor was talking to me about lost production because of smoking, how it affects the health of the skilled labor involved in his business and told me two simply amazing stories.
I will try to give you the story as accurately as possible from my memory of the conversation and the experiment that my friend tried, at great expense.
One of his crew chiefs, who was in his 40′s quit using traditional tobacco cigarettes and decided to give e cigarettes like these a try instead of the combustion of tobacco. Switching to e liquid, which is a vaporized liquid that is turns to vapor that looks and tastes like cigarette smoke. The contraption looks like a cigarette, but does not give off the real smoke, just a water vapor.
As everyone knows, contractors spend plently of time with their crew leaders in comparison to the average laborer or even skilled labor, it’s just the way it happens for times sake.
This particular crew chief kept telling my friend that he was feeling a lot better since moving to the e cigarette instead of tobacco cigarettes. He would tell him how much more productive he was, and it showed financially too, for my friend and the crew chief that get’s performance bonuses.
After looking at the production increase, he starting scheming on how he could get all of the crew members, or as many as he could to change to e cigarettes instead of smoking in the traditional manner.
There was still a problem since a large portion of construction workers smoke pot, so he started doing some research on vaporizers and their health effects on people who smoke both cigarettes and pot.
He learned that they have vaporizers that use tobacco, pot, herbal blends and much more in without combusting the organic material, which means no smoke, just vapor. There is no particulate like smoke produces.
Scientist have figured out that the “Smoke” is what causes all of the health issues, including cancer, blood problems and so forth. This means tobacco or pot can be vaporized, virtually eliminating the dangerous part of smoking either with vaporizers.
He decided to give one crew e cigarettes for the smokers and the best vaporizers to the pot smokers and see what happened. About half of them gave the products a try and about 20% kept using them from his story. What came of it according to him was almost crazy.
He told me he had a 30% increase in production after the first 30 days of the ones who stuck to it. That is something that is totally incredible. Most businesses would consider a 30% increase in production impossible, and even though it was only one crew, it’s pretty plain that the CDC has some pretty good information.
My thoughts are that companies should look at alternative measures to help their employees, crews or other labor to move to less harmful methods and all could reap the benefits.