Drug-Free Workplace

Do you have a federal contract worth $25,000 or more? If yes, then this applies to your company. The Drug-Free Workplace Act, effective since March 18, 1989, requires contractors and grantees of federal agencies to certify that they will provide a drug-free workplace. Each federal contractor will be required to make such a certification as a precondition for receiving a contract or grant from a federal agency. Once a certification is made, the employer must develop a policy that complies with the Act.

The certification may apply to a unit, department, division or the full organization of a contractor or grantee. That contractor or grantee must make the determination of where work connected with the federal contract or grant takes place.

The Act only requires that a policy be developed for violations that occur at the company’s workplace. The Act further limits this by defining workplace as the portions of the employer’s premises where the contract is being performed.

What Do They Mean by “Drug-Free”?
At 41 USC 706, Sec. 5157, “drug-free workplace” is defined as “a site for the performance of work done in connection with a specific grant or contract…at which employees of such entity are prohibited from engaging in the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of a controlled substance.”

Who Must Comply?
You must comply with the Act if you or your organization:

  • Receive a federal grant of any dollar amount
  • Receive a federal contract of $25,000 or more
  • Provide goods or services to the federal government or federal agencies.

There are other reasons why you must comply, but they are not relevant to our industry.

Only procurement contracts (including purchase orders) that are to be performed in whole or in part in the United States are subject to the Act. The contract must be for at least $25,000 before the employer will be required to make a certification. A contractor or grantee will not be required to make a certification for any contract if received prior to March 18, 1989. If, however, an existing contract is significantly altered, a contractor will need to make a certification.

How Is Certification Done?
The certification requirements for contractors and grantees are as follows:

Publish a statement notifying employees that they are prohibited from engaging in unlawful drug-related activities at the workplace and specifying disciplinary actions that will be taken if employees violate the prohibitions.
Establish an awareness program for employees which informs them about:
The dangers of drug use in the workplace
The employer’s policy of maintaining a drug-free workplace
The available counseling, rehabilitation and em- ployee assistance programs
The penalties imposed on employees for drug violations in the workplace
The policy statement issued by the employer, along with the notice that compliance with the policy is a condition of employment.
Make prompt reports to the pertinent federal agency if an employee of a contractor or grantee is convicted of a drug-related crime that occurred in the workplace.
Impose sanctions, or require satisfactory participation in a drug counseling or other rehabilitation program by any employee convicted of a drug-related crime occurring in the workplace.
Make a good faith effort to continue maintenance of a drug-free workplace through all of these steps.

There is a great Web site for more information on this subject: www.dol.gov/asp/programs/drugs/workingpartners/dfworkplace/dfwp.asp

Be sure to check the link regarding state laws. You must follow state laws when doing employee drug and alcohol testing for employees other than DOT CDL drivers.

Feel free to contact me on any of these items if you have questions.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association
Meet the Author
GAWDA DOT, OSHA & EPA Consultant Michael Dodd is president of MLD Safety Associates in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Members can reach him at 573-785-5111 and at MLDSafety@hotmail.com.