Is OSHA Messing With Your Drug-Free Workplace?

In May of this year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a new rule that makes some significant changes to how employers handle workplace injuries and illnesses.  This ruling requires most employers to electronically submit injury and illness records, and encourages employers to increase their efforts to prevent worker injuries and illnesses. Worker Care wants to make sure you’re addressing all aspects of this important new ruling, especially some of the warnings about post-accident drug screening.

After reading the rule summary, we’ve found some employers have been wondering if they should stop post-accident testing for fear of appearing punitive.

Simply put, this rule does not prohibit the drug testing of employees. In fact, if you have employees working in safety-sensitive positions operating under State or Federal regulations, not much as far as drug screening will change. However, employers who have adopted zero-tolerance policies just because it’s a great idea, and don’t have a State or Federal requirement backing it up, need to be especially careful about how they respond to positive post-accident drug screens. Even though the employee tests positive, termination for positive drug screens while the injured employee is still under medical restrictions is considered to be an injury-related termination, which we know is a legal minefield.

Really, this all comes down to being consistent.

If you wish to start screening, develop a good, consistent drug-free workplace policy, with a big emphasis on the consistent part. If you already have a policy in place, be consistent. Make sure all your employees and especially supervisors know what the policy and consequences of breaking it are.

We can help you develop a strong plan for approaching post-accident drug screens, and will help you with your drug and alcohol testing, including review services with our Medical Review Officer, who will help you determine if there is a medical reason that a drug screen may initially result as positive. Want more information? Please give us a call!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *