Delaware Public Media

Mandatory drug testing ordinance introduced in New Castle County Council

Oct 26, 2018

An ordinance that would require county contractors to drug test workers was introduced in New Castle County Council this week.


If approved, contractors and subcontractors on New Castle County public works projects would need to start testing their workers for drugs and alcohol.

County councilman Timothy Sheldon introduced the legislation. He says it’s designed to keep construction sites safe in the midst of the opioid epidemic.

“I’m afraid someone’s going to get hurt on the job. They could hurt themselves, but they could hurt many others with them,” said Sheldon.

Contractor employees would need to be tested before starting work on a jobsite—no less than once every 180 days. Contractors would also need to do unannounced monthly tests of a randomly selected fraction of employees.

“But if you did fail, you get a second shot after 30 days, and the job is held for you,” said Sheldon.

Sheldon says he designed the ordinance to give workers second chances.

“I have experience in my life, through my family,” said Sheldon. “Going to rehab and so forth and fighting their addictions. They all got second chances.”

Sheldon says drug and alcohol testing for public works contractors is common practice in other states—including Pennsylvania.

The legislation is co-sponsored by Councilwoman Janet Kilpatrick and Councilman Ken Woods. It will likely be voted on in November.