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Can employers still conduct Post-Accident Drug Testing?? Yes, they can...

OSHA has come out with some new Post-Accident Drug Testing guidance intended to make sure that post-accident testing is not considered retaliation, therefore  discouraging employees from reporting injuries or illness. 

This guidance does not prohibit post-accident drug testing (pursuant to DOT rules or other federal or state law). It may, however, be time to review your policy. (See below.) Random and pre-employment drug testing are not affected by the guidance. 

Read the article below for more information on OSHA's New Final Rule. We also have included some information from Quest Diagnostics on the RISING positive rates for workplace drug testing. 

Questions? Contact us here or 888-833-5304

OSHA New Final Rule and How it Relates to Drug Screening 
OSHA Final Rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Prevent Retaliation

Here is some information directly from the U.S. Department of Labor website regarding OSHA's new Final Rule:
The final rule revises OSHA's regulation on Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (29 CFR 1904). The new rule requires certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness data to OSHA that they are already required to keep under OSHA regulations. The content of these establishment-specific submissions depends on the size and industry of the employer.
In order to ensure the completeness and accuracy of injury and illness data collected by employers and reported to OSHA, the final rule also:
1. requires employers to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation;
2. clarifies the existing implicit requirement that an employer's procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses must be reasonable and not deter or discourage employees from reporting; and
3. incorporates the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses.
May an employer require post-incident drug testing for an employer who reports a workplace injury or illness?
The rule does not prohibit drug testing of employees. It only prohibits employers from using drug testing, or the threat of drug testing, as a form of retaliation against employees who report injuries or illnesses. If an employer conducts drug testing to comply with the requirements of a state or federal law or regulation, the employer's motive would not be retaliatory and this rule would not prohibit such testing.
However,  OSHA has stated that "drug testing policies should limit post-incident testing to situations in which employee drug use is likely to have contributed to the incident, and for which the drug test can accurately identify impairment caused by drug use. For example, it would likely not be reasonable to drug test an employee who reports a bee sting, a repetitive strain injury, or an injury caused by a lack of machine guarding or a machine or tool malfunction." OSHA further clarifies that "employees need not specifically suspect drug use before testing, but there should be a reasonable possibility that drug use by the reporting employee was a contributing factor to the reported injury or illness in order for an employer to require drug testing." 
The New Final Rule became effective August 10, but due to the need to clarify at that time, OSHA has delayed enforcement until December 1, 2016.
Read FAQ's on the OSHA website

Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index: Drug Positivity in U.S. Workforce Rises to Highest Level in Decade
Quest Diagnostics recently released their current Drug Testing Index, here is what they found...

(From the Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions Blog):
The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) reveals insights into patterns of drug use among the American workforce. It has been published annually for more than 25 years as a public service for government, employers, policymakers, media, and the general public.
In examining the latest data, Barry Sample, Ph.D., Senior Director of Science and Technology at Quest Diagnostics, noted the following key findings from nearly 11 million workplace drug test results.
  • The percentage of employees in the combined U.S. workforce testing positive for drugs has steadily increased over the last three years to a 10-year high of 4.0%.
  • According to analysis of urine drug test results, the rate of amphetamine, marijuana, and heroin detection has increased annually for the past five years.
  • Positivity rates for post-accident urine drug testing are rising in both the general U.S. and federally-mandated, safety-sensitive workforces; rates have increased 30% and 22%, respectively, since 2011.
  • Almost half (45%) of individuals in the general U.S. workforce with a positive drug test for any substance in 2015 showed evidence of marijuana.
  • Heroin positivity, indicated by the presence of the 6-AM marker, increased 146 percent between 2011 and 2015 in the general U.S. workforce.
  • The overall positivity rate for oral fluid testing increased 47 percent over the last three years in the general U.S. workforce. This equates to nearly one in eleven job applicants who are unable to pass an oral fluid drug screen.
  • Overall positivity in the general U.S. workforce was highest in hair drug tests, at 10.3 percent in 2015, a seven percent increase over the prior year.
"The DTI statistics for the last five years underscore the threat to employers - and employees - from drug abusers in our workplace. The numbers on hair testing - the methodology with the longest look-back and therefore a more telling measurement of regular use - show a 34-percent positive-rate increase for illegal drug use by the general workforce in the last five years," said Mark de Bernardo, executive director, Institute for a Drug-Free Workplace. "However, all the numbers for various testing methodologies confirm this disturbing trend and should provide a wake-up call to employers to do more to combat workplace substance abuse and to do it more effectively."

Read the Full Release of the Drug Testing Index Here

Occuscreen has 25 years of experience providing drug testing and criminal background screening services to employers nationwide. Please contact us if we can be of any help to your organization. 


Pamela Mack