Recent Changes To OSHA Regulations For Post-Accident Drug Tests

medical marijuana, worker comp

As of December 1, 2016, employers are required to have an established “reasonable procedure” for injured workers to report any workplace injuries or illness accurately and in a timely manner. According to OSHA comments, post-accident drug testing may be viewed as unlawful retaliatory action by the employer unless drug use by the injured employee is likely to have caused the accident or injury.

How Employers Remain Compliant

Employers must review their company policies for injury reporting and drug testing of employees to ensure they are within the state of Minnesota guidelines. Decisions to conduct post-accident drug tests should be made on a case-by-case basis and not as a uniform policy. Justifiable reasons for testing include the injured employee showing signs of impairment. Managers and supervisors should attend state-approved training on how to recognize symptoms of impairment and follow established protocols for recording and documenting their findings.

Medical Marijuana Use In The Workplace

Companies should already have policies in place for employee use of other legal prescription drugs that could impair motor skills and mental capacity. Although some view marijuana as primarily a recreational drug, rapidly changing laws make the legal use of marijuana by employees for medical treatment a situation that all employers must be prepared for. Employers are legally obligated to accommodate employees who have medical conditions or other disabilities. That obligation does not release them from their responsibility to maintain a reasonably safe workplace for all employees.

Employees with prescriptions for medical marijuana must still abide by reasonable company policies regarding where they smoke. Workers should not expose other individuals to secondhand smoke or attempt to work when they are impaired. Minnesota law states that employers are not required to accommodate employees beyond the point of preventing any undue hardship. A work comp lawyer can advise on situations that may be defined as an undue hardship for employees.

Employees Must Be Adequately Informed Of Company Policies

Companies must inform all employees of any changes to company policies and which testing methods they may use to identify the presence of psychoactive components in an employee’s system. Many companies are switching from urine testing to saliva testing because this method can detect drugs immediately. Companies should provide training to all employees on how to prevent accidents before they occur and respond promptly to any reports of hazardous situations.