What Employers Should Know on Post-Accident Drug Testing

What Employers Should Know on Post-Accident Drug Testing

Wherever you go, in a country, town, school, at work, or even in our home, we prioritize everybody’s safety, including ourselves. Employers aim at the same thing, providing a safe and productive workplace for everyone.

But what if an accident happens due to machinery malfunction or use of dangerous material within the company’s premises? If it does, this merely shows that the company’s environment is not safe to work in.

How should post-accident drug testing help employers with these types of situations? 

We are all aware that the use of drugs and alcohol affects human behavior and usually causes workplace incidents, especially for employees working with long hours and high-pressure tasks. 

That said, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) implemented guidelines to help employers prevent any incident from happening. And it needs the cooperation of both employers and employees. 

In this article, you will find useful information about Post-Accident Drug Testing. 

OSHA Clarifies About When The Post-Accident Drug Testing Is Allowed

OSHA clarifies what they stand about when post-accident drug testing is allowed. 

The agency clearly said that they don’t prohibit post-accident drug testing. Instead, they encourage all employers to perform drug testing to evaluate the root cause of the accident.

In some cases, employers use post-accident drug testing to discourage proper reporting against workers who report workplace injuries. And it is contrary to the real purpose of drug testing, which is to promote a safe and healthy workplace. 

As OSHA clarifies the policy, post-accident drug testing is allowed, including random drug testing. Employers can also do drug testing even on unrelated work-injury, under state workers’ compensation law, and other federal law agencies. 

What is a Post-Incident Drug Test?

There are different types of drug testing, and that includes Post-Incident Drug Testing. Some people are still confused about why there’s a need to conduct such drug testing.

As mandated by the law, Post-Accident Drug Testing happens every after the accident within the workplace. Doing this determines whether the accident’s root cause is due to drugs or alcohol consumption. 

But note that a positive result does not prove that the use of drugs is the cause of the accident.

It will also help employers know and understand the cause and prevent it from happening again in the future.

Employers should also create criteria of how they should do the testing and when to perform it. Such measures should include injuries that occurred, death or casualties, the police’s citations, and damages.

Perform post-accident testing within twelve (12) hours after the incident because different drugs have other ways to detect. After testing, workers are advised not to attend work until results are received. 

There are different types of specimens used for drug testing to all drug testing programs federally mandated. Currently, urine is what the drug testing programs are using.

Aside from urine, they use oral fluid. Both can distinguish a recent use of drugs. 

DOT Policies

If your work is related to the Department of Transportation (DOT), that means you are aware of the drug and alcohol testing. 

There are other government agencies under DOT, including the FMCSA, FAA, FTA, USCG, FRA, and PHMS.

Among the mentioned agencies, FMCSA is where most of the post-accident drug testing falls.

Under DOT, post-incident drug testing is mandatory; however, It highly depends on a particular situation. 

Most-Frequently Asked Questions

Are there different drugs detected using post-accident drug testing?

Drug testing agencies are monitoring five different illegal or highly addictive substances. (SAMSHA)

Included are the amphetamines, THC, cocaine, opiates, and phencyclidine. Also, they check on alcohol. The only concern is if an individual worker is taking it based on a prescription.

What methods are available?

According to SAMSHA guidelines, to determine the illegal drugs, testers use urine as the specimen. 

Another method is to check the employee’s alcohol intake. Breath is what they frequently use with regards to alcoholism.

Is it okay if the worker refuses to undergo a post-accident drug test?

Refusing the process will lead to disciplinary action. It merely shows that the involved employee wants to leave the case. A refusal against drug testing may include not providing the required specimen.

When is the exact time to conduct post-accident drug testing?

Employers should do drug testing within twelve (12) hours after the accident. But for an alcohol test, it must be done immediately or within two to eight hours only. Alcohols have only a short duration time in the body system.

Would it be okay if the employee wasn’t able to get tested within the timeframe?

It’s okay. But alternatively, employers should make records and keep all the documents in a safe place.

What is the procedure of post-accident drug testing?

If an accident happens, a representative will evaluate and assess the scenario. If the involved employee meets the established criteria for drug testing, the employee will receive notifications and instructions. 

Your company’s representative will contact the closet testing facility, informing them about the involved individual’s arrival for the post-accident testing. 

The company will provide safe transportation. Reports must be detailed and completed while the representative person will keep the following company policy reports. 

Is it okay to conduct post-accident drug testing for any accidents?

Performing drug testing has limitations. It is not appropriate to use the testing for all kinds of accidents unless there are reasonable suspicions of the casualties. 

Final Thoughts

Alcohol or Drug Abuse is something that any employer can’t control. And both can affect the employee’s production. With too much consumption, it can even cause injury or illness, and many more. It’s the very reason why there’s a need to conduct post-accident testing. It should not be used to punish employees but for promoting a safe and healthy working environment.


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