OSHA’s Post-Injury Drug Testing Provision

Haley Bass

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released anti-retaliation provisions to its injury and illness tracking rule. The rule went into effect August 10, 2016 and were planned to be enforced November 1. OSHA recently delayed enforcement of the provisions to December 1 to give employers time to comply.

The new provisions are intended to help employees feel safe when reporting a work-related injury or illness.

Under the provisions, employers are required to:

1. Inform workers of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation (like being fired or automatically given a poor performance review).

2. Implement procedures for reporting injuries and illnesses that are reasonable and do not deter workers from reporting (like post-injury drug testing, regardless of what the injury is and how it happened).

3. Incorporate the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against workers for reporting injuries and illnesses.

This affects your drug testing policy. OSHA’s records prove that blanket post-injury drug testing policies keep employees from reporting if they get injured on the job. The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor has recognized that “to intimidate workers, employers may require that workers are tested for drugs or alcohol [after every incident or injury], irrespective of any potential role of drug intoxication in the incident.”

This doesn’t mean the end of employee drug testing.

OSHA’s new provisions don’t mean that employers can’t drug test at all anymore. It just can’t be a blanket requirement. Instead of blanket testing, OSHA recommends that employers restrict post-accident testing to situations where “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.”

If you haven’t already, Concentra recommends that you use the time before enforcement begins to work with your legal and HR departments to update your drug testing policies to reflect this new rule. While we can’t advise you on what policies to implement, Concentra is staying informed of all the OSHA changes. We advise clients to follow up with us after implementing your new policies to determine whether you need to change your service package.

Make sure that your policies are updated and enforced by December 1, 2016. To keep up with any updates, please check OSHA's website.