Drug Free Workplace Mandated on State Work

Kegler Brown Construction Alert

Contractors who bid work to the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, Department of Transportation or other state agencies or entities will have to be enrolled and in good standing with the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation Drug Free Workplace Program by virtue of an Executive Order signed by Governor Taft.

Executive Order 2002-13T gives contractors a 10-day grace period after submitting a bid to enroll in a drug-free workplace program without causing their bid to be rejected. This grace period runs from January 1, 2003 through July 1, 2003. After July 1, 2003, contractors will not be permitted to submit bids without being enrolled prior to the bid date. This means that all contractors bidding on Ohio public works should immediately enroll in an authorized Bureau of Workers' Compensation Drug Free Workplace Program so that they might be listed (by employer ID number) on the BWC website. Only contractors whose number is listed on the website will be considered properly enrolled and therefore eligible to enter into state contracts.

Contractors who are not yet enrolled should apply online at www.ohiobwc.com or fill out an application (U-140) with the BWC as soon as possible. While the BWC may eventually take action to determine whether a drug free workplace program in fact meets appropriate standards, the first step for BWC will likely be to simply determine whether the contractor has filed the appropriate application and has listed themselves as being enrolled in such a program.

Subcontractors will also be required to enroll in the BWC program, if they want to do State work in that contractors will have to provide proof that their subcontractors are properly enrolled before they can perform work on the project.

It is hoped that this additional emphasis on drug free workplace programs will reduce drug or alcohol use and jobsite injuries.

These additional requirements may create an opportunity for bid challenges in the coming months as competitors may discover that some of the apparent low bidders have not satisfied this mandatory requirement.