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National News Release: 04-2093-NAT
Date: Oct. 12, 2004
Contact: Ed Frank or Eryn Witcher
Phone: 202-693-4676


U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao Signs Drug-Free Workplace Alliance Agreement With Four International Labor Unions

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao today signed an Alliance agreement with the leaders of four international labor unions in a cooperative effort to improve worker health and safety by encouraging alcohol- and drug-free workplaces and mines.

Secretary Chao signed the agreement at the Labor Department with Frank Hanley of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Doug McCarron of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Joseph J. Hunt of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iron Workers, and Newton B. Jones of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers.

"Today the U.S. Department of Labor and four of the nation's largest labor unions signed a ground-breaking agreement to protect workers' health and safety," said U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao. "Through this agreement, we are pledging to work together to reduce the serious hazards posed by substance abuse at work. By working cooperatively on this problem, we can improve the safety of America's workplaces and mines."

The Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and Working Partners for an Alcohol- and Drug-Free Workplace Program will work with the four international unions to provide union members and the construction industry with information, guidance and training resources that will communicate the benefits of drug-free workplace programs and better protect workers' health and safety. The organizations will focus especially on educating workers on safety hazards created by the abuse of alcohol and other drugs in workplaces and mines.

The groups will work cooperatively on a number of fronts to encourage drug-free workplaces:
  • Training and education efforts to develop programs regarding workplace substance abuse;
  • Outreach and communications efforts through print and electronic media;
  • Information-sharing efforts to communicate best practices among the organizations; and
  • Convening or participating in forums and roundtable discussions to raise the issues associated with the abuse of alcohol and other drugs to help forge innovative solutions.
The 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that 77 percent of the nation's adults who have alcohol or drug abuse or dependence problems are employed either full- or part-time. In addition, a 1998 Bureau of Labor Statistics analysis showed that as many as 20 percent of toxicology screens following workplace fatalities tested positive for drugs and/or alcohol.

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Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.


OSHA News Release - Table of Contents OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents