|Drug-Free Workplace Promising Practice|
The following Drug-Free Workplace Alliance member profile illustrates a promising practice for workplace substance abuse programs and is provided for strictly informational purposes.
The Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association (SC&RA) is an international trade association of more than 1,200 companies from 46 nations. Members are involved in specialized transportation, machinery moving and erecting, industrial maintenance, millwrighting and crane and rigging operations, manufacturing and rental. SC&RA joined the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Drug-Free Workplace Alliance when DOL expanded the Alliance in July 2006. As an association, SC&RA does not require members to institute particular programs-such policy matters are up to individual employers as reflected in their existing collective bargaining agreements. However, SC&RA can influence its membership by making helpful recommendations-especially when it comes to SC&RA's number one goal of safety.
"Joining the Alliance and encouraging alcohol- and drug-free workplaces throughout our industry is one more way SC&RA helps improve worker health and safety," said Beth O'Quinn, vice president at SC&RA.
Educating an Industry
SC&RA is a two-pronged association representing companies in both the specialized transportation industry, and those in the crane and rigging field. The transportation-focused segment of SC&RA's membership is already quite familiar with drug-free workplace issues since they are held to drug-testing standards imposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation. However, SC&RA has found its crane and rigging industry members-especially smaller businesses that do not offer transportation services-are not as versed in the benefits of implementing drug-free workplace programs. Therefore, SC&RA sees a particular opportunity to leverage its Alliance participation on behalf of crane and rigging companies not acquainted with the important issue of alcohol and drug use in the workplace.
Because SC&RA does not mandate the behavior of its members, the organization takes an educational approach to drug-free workplace awareness building. "Our goal is to put as much information into our members' hands as possible, providing them guidelines on where to begin and how to strengthen their existing programs," said O'Quinn.
For example, SC&RA mailed all of its over 1,200 members the helpful "Steps to a Drug-Free Workplace" brochure produced by DOL's Working Partners for an Alcohol- and Drug-Free Workplace program. The organization also has distributed various press releases about its participation in the Drug-Free Workplace Alliance, and published several articles on the issue in SC&RA magazines and newsletters, reaching more than 37,000 people.
During Drug-Free Work Week, an annual education and awareness campaign that takes place every October, SC&RA sends educational flyers and hard-hat stickers to its entire membership, encouraging companies to observe the week and bring its themes to life on their own worksites.
Further, SC&RA publishes a quarterly Safety & Risk Management newsletter that often focuses on drug-free workplace issues, and has invited DOL representatives to speak and exhibit at its annual Crane & Rigging Workshop.
SC&RA plans to produce a new page on its Web site dedicated to the Alliance and drug- and alcohol-free workplace issues. The page will serve as a valuable online resource connecting users to relevant, downloadable safety and health information.
Finally, the organization features information about the Alliance and its mission in its member benefits prospectus, its year-end report and its membership directory.
One challenge for SC&RA in designing its education efforts is determining the scope of drug or alcohol use in the industry, as well as the number of SC&RA members that have taken proactive steps to put drug-free workplace policies in place.
To help tackle those challenges, SC&RA distributed a survey to measure how many of its members have a drug-free workplace policy, offer Employee Assistance Programs and/or perform drug testing. The results led SC&RA to believe many of its members do not have drug-free workplace program elements in place.
Such a realization has energized SC&RA to maintain its new focus on drug-free workplace issues. It makes certain Alliance activities are discussed at all relevant SC&RA meetings and arms its members with drug-free workplace information and resources at every opportunity.
According to O'Quinn, the fact that SC&RA has formally demonstrated its commitment to the issue is making a difference. "It's encouraging to hear our members are responding to what they're learning from us and taking action," she said. "Several have told us they are considering a drug-free workplace policy, now that SC&RA is advocating it."
SC&RA's efforts continue to convey the importance of drug-free workplace programs in ensuring a safe and healthy workforce in the specialized transportation and crane and rigging industries.
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