Workers demand drug-free job sites

Electrical workers Local 164, IBEW, not only talks the talk when it comes to implementing drug-free construction zones throughout the state of New Jersey, the trade union also walks the walk – and launched the first drug-free workforce program of its kind earlier this year. Baseline testing of all 4,000 electricians and telecommunications technicians was completed this past spring, and random sampling of 25 percent of the membership is well under way.

“If we can keep one individual who is using illegal drugs or excessive alcohol off a job site, then the program has achieved its goal, which is to remain accident-free and return our men and women home at the end of the day in the same condition they left in the morning,” said Richard Dressel, Local 164 business manager, who noted electrical work is especially dangerous because of the live high voltages.

Local 164 and the Northern New Jersey Chapter of the Electrical Contractors Association ( are collaborating to educate other trade organizations as well as local, state and federal officials regarding the benefits associated with mandatory substance abuse testing for construction workers. The two organizations developed a direct-mail campaign that includes a DVD ( to increase awareness.

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