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COLUMBUS - Governor Bob Taft signed an executive order recently that implements a stronger drug-free workplace policy for state construction projects. Contractors and subcontractors will be required to enroll in the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation's (BWC's) Drug-Free Workplace Program, Drug-Free EZ Program or a comparable program approved by BWC and to remain a member in good standing in order to be eligible for construction projects administered by the state. "We can't allow workers to put themselves and others at risk of being seriously injured or killed because of drug use on state construction projects," Taft said. According to BWC, national statistics show 33 percent of all workplace deaths have some link to drug or alcohol use. A recent Cornell University study of drug use in the construction industry found 71 companies reduced injury rates by an average of 51 percent within two years of implementing a drug testing program compared to a 14 percent reduction at companies without programs in the same period. The policy will be phased in to allow contractors time to get programs in place and fully functioning by July 1. As of January, contractors may submit bids without previously being enrolled in a drug-free workplace program. However, they must enroll in a program approved by BWC within 10 days of the bid opening. The Bureau, The Ohio Department of Administrative Services and the Ohio Department of Transportation will jointly administer the policy. State government is the leading source of construction spending in Ohio.

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October 19, 2019, 8:17 am PDT

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