Grant Gives $200,000 to Reduce Drugs in the Workplace

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) announced yesterday a $200,000 grant to a labor-management cooperative effort to improve workplace safety and support drug-free construction sites in up to 27 Ohio counties.

The safety grant was presented to the Union Construction Industry Partnership (UCIP), a joint venture of the Construction Employers Association and 11 trade unions in northern and northeastern Ohio. The grant will support the efforts of a partnership between contractors and unions aimed at drug-free education of all workers and training of supervisors to prevent unnecessary accidents and injuries attributable to substance abuse.

"On a construction site, lives can be put in jeopardy by the carelessness of one person working under the influence," Gov. Bob Taft said. "I'm pleased to see labor and management working together on this issue to create solutions that promote safety and protect all employees at a construction site."

This grant will enable UCIP to facilitate the design of needed construction-specific education and training. It also will assist UCIP members to implement the program and qualify to bid on state construction contracts. Taft recently enacted an executive order requiring all contractors on state construction projects to implement a drug-free workplace program.

"Working on a construction site can be dangerous work if you are not properly trained. But all that training can be wasted if a co-worker is abusing drugs or alcohol on the job," BWC Administrator/CEO Jim Conrad said. "When someone is impaired and causes a work-related accident, they usually injure a co-worker."

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