OSHA’s final rule focuses on improving safety for workers across the country. The rule, which goes into effect on August 10th, requires employers to establish “reasonable procedure” for employee reporting of work-related injuries and illnesses. Under the rule, employers are prohibited from discouraging an employee from accurately reporting a workplace injury or illness. One way OSHA hopes to achieve this is to require post-accident testing to be tied to reasonable suspicion. Drug testing after an injury, OSHA fears, may deter injury reporting. Failing to comply with the new rule could result in penalties up to $12,471 (or $124,712 for willful violations.)
If you’re a non-regulated employer, now is the time to examine your existing drug policy. To avoid penalties, you should consider:
- Testing that focuses on showing recent illegal drug use (such as oral fluid testing.)
- Eliminating testing in connection with ALL accidents or injuries and instead limiting post-accident testing to cases with reasonable suspicion.
- Impose time limits for conducting a test following an accident.
- Tightening policy for post-accident testing to include only cases where an employee caused or contributed to an accident and property damage is a predetermined level (say, $1,000.)
- Training supervisors to improve recognition of drug and alcohol use relating to reasonable suspicion testing.
Employers who are required to conduct drug testing in order to comply with state/federal law or regulation will not be considered in violation of the new rule.