New Drug Testing Policies – OSHA’s Reasonable Reporting Rule

safety-218x300Another change will occur as of December 1, 2016 as it relates to Drug-Free Workplaces and accident reporting procedures. A new Reasonable Reporting Procedure rule from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) will begin. OSHA will begin enforcing effective December 1, 2016, and it may very well require you to change the way you do post-incident drug testing, as well as update any current company policies you have on Drug-Free Workplace and Accident Reporting procedures.

This new law stems from OSHA’s concerns over how the mere implication that a company’s current Accident Reporting policies may actually deter employees from reporting accidents, as they may fear punitive measures or retaliation if a drug test is administered post-accident. If an employer requires a drug test after every single work-related injury or accident, employees may not report all accidents and this impacts OSHA’s accurate reporting procedures.

Therefore, because OSHA wants to ensure every on-the-job incident is reported and managed appropriately to mitigate future incidents, and to eliminate the employees’ fear of reporting, employers will now be required to have an explicit reason for conducting a post-accident drug test. The new post-accident rules, however, cannot be used as a form of discipline or retaliation and they must be used in an objective and reasonable way.

As long as the employer’s Drug-Free Workplace policy is compliant with state statutes, the policy will not contradict OSHA’s rules. Employers that are regulated by state and federal drug testing laws (such as Transportation) are not impacted by this rule.

It’s a bit of an unknown at this time as to whether this new rule will have the appropriate long-term affect on accident reporting, and has raised many questions from U.S. employers, where accident prevention is critical. Until then, if you feel your Drug-Free Workplace policy needs to be reviewed, please contact us directly.