Bechtel National last week and early this week conducted sweeping drug and alcohol testing of workers at the Waste Treatment Plant (WTP) the company is building at the Hanford Site in Washington state. The testing targeted all of the approximately 2,000 workers who have unescorted access to the plant’s job site.
Four other major Hanford contractors have also notified their employees that random drug testing would be expanded in July.
The testing of workers at the Waste Treatment Plant followed an increase over the last several months in the number of positive results during drug and alcohol testing and an increase in the number of controlled substances or paraphernalia found at the job site, said George Rangel, Bechtel National spokesman. In addition, area law enforcement officials have reported an increase in drug trafficking in the region, he said.
Normally, drug testing is done at random at the Waste Treatment Plant, plus after accidents and for cause.
The recent testing covered workers for Bechtel, primary WTP subcontractor AECOM, and other subcontractors who have badges allowing them to come and go from the job site without escorts. Bechtel declined to discuss the number of suspicious results requiring further laboratory testing, but did say that some workers failed the test. The Department of Energy said it had not yet been provided with the results.
Disciplinary action for those who fail the test are handled according to policies of their individual employers, up to termination of employment.
“We will continue to engage with local law enforcement, using K-9 units and other resources to eliminate banned substances from WTP,” Rangel said.