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How the Opioid Epidemic Hurt Muncie’s Workforce

muncie indiana opioid epidemic

Across the country, the opioid epidemic has taken lives, broken families, and cost people their careers. Unfortunately, Muncie has not escaped the devastation.

For several years now, some employees of Muncie companies have suffered from opioid addiction. Family, friends, and employers have watched loved ones slide further and further downhill because of the loss of function and ability to maintain steady income caused by these drugs.

Specifically in Muncie, one out of four people are not applying for jobs in the workforce because of their opioid addiction.

It’s no wonder, then, that many employers’ first response to a workplace accident is to drug test those involved. But employers must not overstep. Employees have certain rights that must be protected after workplace accidents.

Why Employers Typically Want to Drug Test after Workplace Injuries

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As an employer, with at least one employee, you must carry workers’ compensation insurance. If an employee were to suffer an injury from an on-the-job accident, a workers’ compensation claim could be filed. However, to avoid a larger payout, employers might want to drug test employees to find fault in the employee rather than the work environment. If there’s evidence to support the injured employee was under the influence of drugs, that information would go a long way in a workers’ compensation claim. In addition to the payout of the claim, fines and citations from the United States Department of Labor could also be lessened.

Why Employers Can’t Blanket Drug Test After Workplace Accident

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If an employee is injured on the job, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has ruled that employers cannot blanket drug test their employees. This ruling is to help protect the right of employees to a safe working environment. OSHA has ruled that drug testing after a workplace accident could be seen as retaliatory or intimidating — a violation of the law. If employers were allowed to have a policy that mandated drug tests after workplace accidents, it’s probable that many workplace accidents would not be reported and unsafe conditions may continue.

When Can Employers Drug Test?

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After the incident, if an employer finds that drugs could have reasonably caused the injury, they may drug test. The effects of drugs are numerous and, overtime, become more severe. For example, drugs can affect your ability to think clearly, causing paranoia and drowsiness. If individuals involved in a workplace accident show signs in line with drug use, a drug test may be warranted.

Waiting for a Drug Test after an Incident

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OSHA does not say how long employers have to wait to request a drug test after a workplace incident. It is smart to be aware that drugs stay in someone’s system for a limited time. There are several factors such as body mass, drug substance, what type of drug test administered, how often an employee uses, the physical activity level of the employee, etc., that effect how long the drugs can stay in an employee’s body. Therefore, it would be in the best interest of employers to not wait long to request a drug test if one is warranted.

Help from a Muncie Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you suffered a workplace injury and your employer threatened you with an unwarranted drug test, don’t wait to hire an attorney to fight on your side. Contact Hensley Legal Group today for a free consultation or contact us online.