Drug Testing Safety

Why post-accident drug testing matters most

Now that your company has determined the need for a drug and alcohol policy, it is important to assess key components impacting the effectiveness of the policy. So, when should drug testing be performed?  

Drug testing policies typically suggest that testing be performed during pre-employment. However, it is common for an employee to be drug tested during random selection or even during a post-accident workplace incident.

Workplace accidents have become very common. 5,147 workers were killed on the job in 2017 (3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers) — on average, more than 99 a week or more than 14 deaths every day. Although workplace incidents may be more prevalent in one industry over another, it is important to assess the benefits of post accident drug testing within the workplace.

Post Accident Drug Testing

As companies implement drug and alcohol policies, over time the benefits of such initiatives will be revealed. Post-accident drug testing can be very cost effective for an organization as it aids in the detection of drugs and alcohol which could be related to the cause of an injury. Post-accident drug testing is also compliant with the Department of Transportation and many state drug testing requirements. Needless to say, post accident drug testing is a strategy that serves as a proactive approach in protecting your company and ensuring a drug free workplace.

A severe consequence impacting employers that could result from workplace accidents are worker compensation claims. Worker compensation claims can be very costly for an employer. Within worker compensation claims, an investigation is conducted to identify key elements of the incident. When post-accident drug testing is incorporated within a policy, it allows the employer the opportunity to obtain evidence that could substantiate details of an accident.  

This in part allows the employer and insurance carrier to dispute any claims of the injured party for compensation purposes. 

Incorporating a post accident drug testing policy protects both the employer and the employee.

When post-accident drug testing is implemented, the employer must be able to prove the incident was a result of substance use. An employer is able to argue an intoxication defense if the employer is able to prove an employee was intoxicated at the time of the incident and that the intoxication contributed to the injury. The means by which intoxication and cause is determined can vary from state to state.

Keep in mind an employee is able to dispute any claims or presumption of intoxication and cause. In doing so, the employee must prove intoxication was a noncontributing factor to the accident. Throughout this process of investigation, employers will need to obtain written statements from witnesses. 

Another important aspect is to ensure proper medical attention is provided to the injured party.  Each of these components will need to be considered in the development of drug testing within your organization.

Developing a comprehensive drug testing policy can be very effective for your organization. When an employer is able to demonstrate a compliant workplace drug testing policy, a properly administered drug test, and obtain positive drug test results - the employer is able to demonstrate substance use attributed to the accident. It is essential your organization takes the necessary precautions in developing a thorough policy to protect itself from unnecessary claims.

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