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The Exception to Post-accident Drug Testing

Emily Hartman /
Text: "Ask the HR Expert"

Q: We suspect an employee who claimed a work-related injury is using marijuana, is there a policy about drug testing them post-accident?

A: This depends on your current drug testing policy; a comprehensive policy may include post-accident testing. Last year, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration reviewed post-accident testing policies as a possible deterrent to employees filing workers compensation claims. It determined that drug testing after an accident violates the Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses rule if the test is intended to penalize the employee for reporting the incident or illness; otherwise, it is okay to conduct post-accident testing. Additionally, if you conduct any post-accident testing, you will need to test everyone involved in the incident, not just the employee who reported it.

Other examples of acceptable workplace drug testing practices include random tests, testing that is unrelated to a work injury or illness, tests the fall within a state’s workers’ compensation law, any testing that falls within federal law, and testing intended to determine the case of a workplace incident.

If you don’t have a comprehensive policy, discuss this kind of program with your workers’ compensation insurance carrier before you revise or implement your current policies. Your drug testing policy can be in place at the same time as a general drug and alcohol policy.

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