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Drug Testing After Workplace Accidents Discouraged by OSHA

workers-compensation-osha-new-rulesNew rules on reporting workplace injuries limit the use of drug testing after a workplace injury only to circumstances in which it is likely that drug use contributed to the accident, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA has found that drug testing of employees after a workplace accident is often seen as invasive and can be used to discourage workers from reporting workplace injuries. OSHA particularly warns against testing that simply reveals use at some time in the recent past since it could not be used to prove impairment at the specific time of the accident.

Workplace injuries that would not require a drug test include:

  • Bee sting
  • Repetitive strain injury
  • Tool malfunction
  • Machine malfunction
  • Lack of machine guarding

Companies with 250 or more employees (and a few with 20-249 employees in high-risk industries) will be required to submit electronic reports of workplace injuries to OSHA starting July 1, 2017.

In any workplace across the nation, employers must:

  • Inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses without retaliation
  • Use reasonable procedures for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses that do not discourage employees for reporting (like unnecessary drug testing)
  • Not retaliate against employees who report work-related injuries or illnesses