OSHA announcement clarifies workplace drug-testing rules

Ever felt confused by federal rules? You’re not alone.

Plenty of employers needed clarification after OSHA issued a 2016 rule saying that drug testing—or the threat of drug testing—shouldn’t be used to discourage workers from reporting on-the-job injuries or illness. This rule also prohibitedany post-accident blanket drug testing when it appeared drugs were not involved.

This 2016 rule complicated company drug-testing. When was it OK to test? How do you follow the law and be sure you’re providing a safe environment?

What employers can do

A recent OSHA announcement set the record straight. In their updated memo, OSHA rubber stamped most workplace drug-testing programs.

Examples of what’s allowed include: random drug testing, drug testing unrelated to a work injury or illness, testing connected to worker’s comp law, or testing under other federal laws, like DOT rules. Also on OSHA’s approved list: drug testing to determine the cause of an accident where employees were “harmed or could have been harmed.”

What employers can’t do

What’s not OK? Safety situations where employers penalize workers for reporting work-related injury or illness. This isn’t allowed. It’s important, says the OSHA memo, to test all employees involved not just the one who reported it.

How to implement these rules

Even though most workplace drug-testing programs generally got a thumbs-up from OSHA, it’s important for employers to establish a good company policy. Company policy should include best practices for post-accident testing and also factor in state laws.

Managing a company policy with ever-changing laws isn’t always simple. But a partner like ClearStar can help.Our ClearMD solution streamlines the drug testing process for you, minimizing errors and hassles.Our paperless system and real-time updates make the process user-friendly for both employees and employers.

 Contact us today to find out more.

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