OSHA’s New Rule on Post-Accident Drug Testing

Recently, OSHA amended their rules for post-accident drug testing, leaving many employers wondering, “What does this mean for me, and how do I stay compliant?” To better serve our customers, we have highlighted some essential information concerning the new rule and added best practices for implementation:

Overview of the New Rule
OSHA no longer permits mandatory or blanket post-accident drug testing. This change stems from the belief that blanket testing may act as a deterrent for legitimately injured employees to report on-the-job accidents due to fear of being drug tested.

Can Employers Still Conduct Post-Accident Drug Testing?
Yes, under section 1904.35(b)(1)(iv), OSHA does not prohibit employers from drug testing employees who report work-related injuries or illnesses, provided there is an “objectively reasonable basis” for testing.

Defining “Reasonable Basis”
OSHA maintains that drug testing policies should “limit post-incident testing to situations in which 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.” While this is still open to interpretation, a helpful guideline might be to ask yourself, “Is it likely that drug use could have directly contributed to the accident?” If the answer is “Yes,” then you may proceed with testing.

Staying Compliant with the New Rule
To ensure compliance with the new rule, update your company’s substance abuse policy to reflect the change and revise any post-accident drug testing language in your employment consent forms. For example:

“I understand that (Insert Your Company Name) may require drug testing when an on-the-job accident or injury is reported, and drug use is likely to have contributed to the incident. My refusal to submit to drug testing will be grounds for termination.”

Best Practices for Implementation

  • Train your management and HR personnel on the new rule, ensuring they understand the criteria for determining when a post-accident drug test is appropriate.
  • Regularly review and update your substance abuse policy to ensure compliance with evolving regulations and industry standards.
  • Ensure clear communication with employees about the updated policy and provide resources to educate them on their rights and responsibilities.
  • Establish a protocol for documenting the decision-making process when determining whether to administer a post-accident drug test, including a description of the circumstances and rationale for testing.

By understanding and adhering to OSHA’s new rule on post-accident drug testing, employers can maintain a safe work environment while respecting employees’ rights and privacy. Implementing best practices will further strengthen your company’s commitment to employee well-being and regulatory compliance.


Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is intended for informational purposes only. RiskProducts.com is not a law firm, and no attorneys were employed or consulted in the compilation of the information contained herein. It is highly recommended that users consult with an attorney or a drug testing expert before making any policy decisions based, in part or in whole, on the information contained in this article. All forms of diagnostic and employment testing must be conducted in compliance with applicable state and federal laws. Ensuring compliance is the sole responsibility of the user of this information and the entity they represent.