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Secretary Hammond's statement regarding WSDOT's Drug and Alcohol Policy

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Date:  Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Contact: Steve Pierce, Communications Director, 360-705-7076 (Olympia)

Fourth update: Oct. 2, 2012

Third update: June 28, 2012

Second update: June 7, 2012


Updated: May 29, 2012


Dear Washington state residents,

A safe transportation system is the Washington State Department of Transportation’s highest priority. To safely build, operate, and maintain that system, we have long-held and clear policies that strictly prohibit any drug or alcohol use by state employees in the workplace.

According to recent news reports, contractor staff working on the SR 520 Floating Bridge and Landings Project were drinking alcohol in a contractor-leased office building. WSDOT employees also work in this building, and at this time, we believe that none of them were involved.

WSDOT executives learned of alcohol use by contractor employees on Friday, May 18. In response, we have taken swift action confirming our policy with our contractors to help prevent a situation like this from happening again. This is how we have responded:

Monday, May 21:

  • WSDOT sent a letter (pdf 225 kb) to SR 520 floating bridge contractor Kiewit Infrastructure West Co., reminding them of WSDOT’s  policy (pdf 3.9 mb)  requiring a drug- and alcohol-free workplace and requesting that they abide by these rules at any office co-located with WSDOT employees.
  • Kiewit confirmed in a letter (pdf 37 kb) requiring a drug- and alcohol-free workplace and requesting that they abide by these rules at any office co-located with WSDOT employees.
  • Kiewit-General, the WSDOT pontoon contractor in Aberdeen, confirmed that their drug- and alcohol-free workplace policy has been and is enforced at the Aberdeen office.

Tuesday, May 22:

  • WSDOT sent a letter (pdf 90 kb) to Eastside Corridor Constructors, contractor for the SR 520 Eastside Transit and HOV Project, reminding them of WSDOT’s policy requiring a drug- and alcohol-free workplace and requesting that they abide by these rules at any office co-located with WSDOT employees.
  • Eastside Corridor Constructors assured WSDOT in a letter (pdf 160 kb) that their policy prohibits the use of drugs and alcohol on the project or at their co-located office. They noted that their policy was provided to WSDOT when the project began in 2011 and they have always abided by it.
  • I sent all WSDOT employees an email reminder (pdf 57 kb) reminder about our drug- and alcohol-free workplace policies, and asked employees to report any activities to the contrary.

Wednesday, May 23:

  • We will ensure that we cite  WAC 296-800-110 - Employer Responsibilities: Safe Work Place , prohibiting alcohol and narcotics in the workplace, in our contract provisions with all construction contractors and design consultants on WSDOT projects.
  • We will point out to contractors that, from here on, they will see these provisions on WSDOT’s Ad and Award website.
  • We will add instructions to the WSDOT Construction Manual outlining the importance of our project engineers explaining this requirement during preconstruction conferences.
  • WSDOT has launched an investigation to determine whether any WSDOT employees were involved in alcohol use at the floating bridge office.

Thursday, May 24 (added May 29, 2012):

  • Kiewit CEO Bruce Grewcock sent an email (pdf 17 kb) to all Kiewit employees confirming the company's policy on alcohol in the workplace.  

Thursday, June 7 (added June 7, 2012):

Thursday, June 28 (added June 28, 2012):

Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012 (added Oct. 2, 2012):

  • The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries completed its inspections and found no violations. View their posting (pdf 79 kb).

I am proud of the hard work and dedication of WSDOT employees and contractors working on WSDOT projects. Just like our work on Washington highways, when we find something wrong, we fix it. This situation is no different.

I appreciate and share your concern about this issue. Please know that alcohol or drug use is not acceptable within WSDOT projects and workplaces. This issue is receiving attention at all levels to ensure that our policies are upheld.

Sincerely,


Paula Hammond, P.E.
Secretary, Washington State Department of Transportation


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