The Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association was among five contractor associations and four additional unionsrecently added by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to its Drug-Free Workplace Alliance, a cooperative agreement focussed on improving workplace safety and health in the construction industry through substance abuse prevention and intervention.

Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao signed the agreement expanding the Alliance at a ceremony in early July at the new headquarters of the U.S. Census Bureau in Suitland, MD. Joining SC&RA as new signatories are:

• American Road & Transportation Builders Association

• Associated General Contractors of America

• International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers

• International Union of Painters and Allied Trades

• Laborers' International Union of North America

• National Asphalt Pavement Association

• NEA - The Association of Union Constructors

• United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada.

The expansion brings the total number of organizations in the Alliance to 13. The four original members, who joined in October 2004, include the International Association of Bridge, Structural Ornamental and Reinforcing Ironworkers; International Brotherhood of Boilermakers; International Union of Operating Engineers; and United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.

The Alliance is led by DOL's Working Partners for an Alcohol- and Drug-Free Workplace program and managed cooperatively with DOL's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Activities focus on educating workers about the importance of being drug free to improving workplace safety and sources of help for workers who may have problems with alcohol or other drugs.

Accomplishments to date include developing and distributing training and information materials, including a poster raising awareness about substance abuse issues through industry events and publications; and identifying and promoting drug-free workplace best practices. This fall, the Alliance also plans to conduct the first “Drug-Free Work Week” campaign to further heighten awareness of the benefits of drug-free workplace programs.

DOL established the Alliance because research shows that construction, along with mining, tops the list of industries whose workers report the highest rates of alcohol and other drug abuse. However, no industry is immune to the hazards alcohol and drug abuse can cause. Employers of all types can learn more about steps they can take to protect employee safety and health through drug-free workplace programs through DOL's web siteat www.dol.gov/workingpartners.

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