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DOL News Release No. 04-2111-NAT
U.S. Department of Labor
Contact: Eryn Wichter
Phone: (202) 693-4676
Contact: Suzy Bohnert
Phone: (202) 693-9420

Released Wednesday, October 13, 2004

MSHA Assistant Secretary Announces Drug-Free Workplace Alliance with Four Labor Unions

BECKLEY, W. Va. - Dave D. Lauriski, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health, today announced a drug-free workplace alliance with the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iron Workers; the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers; the International Union of Operating Engineers; and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. The Department of Labor will continue to extend invitations to other organizations to further the health and safety of mines.

"This alliance between MSHA and these labor organizations will help address a growing workplace safety risk: drug abuse at work," said Lauriski, the head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). "We need to work aggressively to protect miners from the added hazards created by the abuse of drugs and alcohol on the job."

Lauriski made the announcement to encourage these industry safety specialists to adopt an alcohol- and drug-free workplace. The announcement took place at a conference at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy.

MSHA will work with these unions to provide information and training resources that will assist their members to know the benefits of a drug-free work environment. Emphasis will be placed on advising workers of the safety and productivity pitfalls when drugs or alcohol are misused. The unions will develop training and educational programs to discuss workplace substance abuse; communicate with members and the media by using print and electronic media; share best-practices information among members; and hold forums and participate in discussions to raise the awareness of drugs in the workplace and how to solve this problem.