Historically, it has not been unusual for employers to have policies requiring workers to undergo drug or alcohol testing after a workplace accident. But now, with the passage of a new reporting rule by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), employers are going to need to be much more cautious about this practice. Blanket policies that require each and every employee to be tested for drugs or alcohol may discourage reporting of workplace accidents, and thus would not be acceptable under the new policy.
The new OSHA rule on electronic reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses doesn’t actually make any direct mention of drug testing workers post-injury, but occupational experts who have been studying the rule (which goes into effect August 10, 2016) have largely concluded that the policy doesn’t allow the kind of broad-based drug testing that’s often done after an occupational accident. There are also some who have argued that by doing this, OSHA is undercutting worker safety. Workers will know they can’t be tested for drugs or alcohol after an accident, and they’ll be more likely to imbibe.
But that’s not exactly what OSHA has said. Continue reading