Drug testing policies may need to be revised

If you have a policy that requires drug testing after a workplace accident or injury, you may need to change it as a result of new rules issued by OSHA.

The new rules generally require that companies have a reporting procedure in place for work-related injuries and illnesses, and prohibit them from discouraging workers from reporting injuries. The catch is that, according to OSHA, a policy that requires drug testing after a workplace accident could discourage workers from reporting accidents in the first place.

To be clear, OSHA is not saying that you can never give a drug test after a mishap. But to justify a test, two things must be true:

  • There must be a reasonable chance that drug use was actually the cause of the injury or accident. So a drug test wouldn’t be okay if an employee reports a repetitive strain injury, for instance, or if an accident was due to an equipment malfunction.
  • The drug test you use must be able to determine if the employee is impaired right now. A drug test that can only show whether an employee was impaired at some point in the recent past isn’t good enough.

It’s a wise idea to review any drug testing policy you have in place and make sure it complies with the new rules.

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