Why is Post-Accident Drug Testing so Important?
Work Place Safety Affects Everyone
By Bill Nee, VP Sales/Marketing uVera Diagnostics
Post-accident drug testing serves the interest of both the employer and the employee. Today most people including you and me understand that addiction is a mental health problem. It can affect every aspect of your life from personal relationships to work performance.
When a workplace accident happens, the first thing I wonder is why? A drug screen like a 10 panel test takes you one step closer to answering that question. There are other reasons that I think post-accident drug testing is so important, though.
Drug Use Facts
Employers lose billions each year due to employee drug and alcohol abuse. That number continues to rise as the opioid epidemic rages out of control, too. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates 130 people die daily from an opiate overdose which includes the use of:
- Prescriptions pain relievers
When employees have a drug or alcohol problem, you must deal with:
- Low morale
- Potential legal liabilities
- Increased medical costs
The National Drug-Free Workplace Alliance points out that 74 percent of individuals with a drug or alcohol problem have a job. Often employers like you have no idea there is a problem until an accident happens and that is a primary reason you should consider making post-accident drug tests a policy for your business.
Work Place Safety Affects Everyone
Drug Testing Laws
It’s the most common reason employers decide to do any form of drug testing because safety comes first for you and your colleagues. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 5,000 people lost their lives last year due to work injuries.
Types of accidents include:
- Falls – 17%
- Transportation – 40%
- Homicides – 8%
- Suicides – 5%
Unintentional overdoses have increased in workplaces for five years in a row, now. The rising numbers are just one reason I think employers make job sites safer when they provide workplace/onsite drug testing. The goal is to catch a problem early so an employee can get help.
Post-Accident Drug Testing can Help Control Health Care Costs
Health costs come into play for both random and drug testing. Put simply, someone using drugs is more likely to have high medical expenses as well of a greater risk for workplace accidents. Drug test administrators provide a proactive way you and I can bring those costs down.
Post-accident drug testing is a legal issue in some states, too. An employee with a positive result may not qualify for workers compensation. Since employers pay into the workers’ comp system, it works in your favor to conduct post-accident drug testing.
Post-accident drug testing sets a precedent, one that says if you have an accident on my time, expect a drug test afterward. That testing will deter drug use altogether, especially when combined with random and pre-employment checks.
Because Drug Screens are in the Business’s Best Interest
Businesses administrators want to do what’s best for the employees, but they also want to do the best thing for the company. A post-accident drug test does both.
For employees it:
- Hopefully, gets them the help they need. Testing positive doesn’t have to mean immediate termination. An employer can help steer a valued employee toward recovery, instead.
- Even if the decision is to terminate, employers can introduce resources to the family that they might not know exists.
For employers it:
- Helps you understand the accident. A post-accident drug screening test will confirm or rule out a possible cause for you.
- Encourage change whether the accident was drug-related or not, I find employers can assess the circumstances and makes changes to prevent further events once alcohol addiction and drugs are ruled out.
What Kinds of Drug Testing Exist?
Once you decide post-accident drug testing is the right course, then what? A drug administrator can go over the various options with you like the 5 panel drug test and the 10 panel.
Both tests offer valuable insight into the cause of an event, but for post-accident workplace testing, the 5 panel drug test is more common than the 10 panel drug test.
When is a Post-Accident Drug Test Appropriate?
What to Say When Requesting a Drug Test
The most important part of drug testing after an accident is communication. It is up to you as the employer to clarify how and when the testing will occur. You should often refer to the businesses drug testing policy — if you don’t have one, post one as soon as possible.
During the discussion, I like to take the time to explain the reason the test is necessary. My conversation includes why it is essential for the employee as well as how the company benefits from a post-accident drug test.
Companies should consider carefully who requires testing and who does not, as well. If an employee slips on a visible oil spot, then drugs most likely have nothing to do with the accident. On the other hand, if a fork-truck driver hits another employee, you might opt to test the driver but not the person hit.
With the rise in drug and alcohol abuse, employers need to think carefully about things like post-accident drug testing and other drug policies. There are real benefits for employers who drug test including knowing that drugs and alcohol played no role in a workplace accident. For more information on post-accident drug testing, give us a call today.
We have many other drug testing kits, as well, that you can use for post-accident drug testing. Contact us today if you have any questions about how we can help you fulfill your drug-free workplace initiative.
For more information on drug testing, click here or call 1-866-242-5930
Posted by Bill Nee, VP Sales/Marketing uVera Diagnostics and Co-designer and Developer of the CR3 split-sample drug test cup. Bill has 27 years in sales management and marketing and is a 15 year veteran of the drug testing industry. As a parent and co-worker, Bill’s energy is focused on drug testing on every level. Addiction is all around us in alcohol, prescriptions and street drugs, and that is a constant reminder a drug free society starts with each and every one of us.
This information is meant for awareness and education purposes only. Any medical or life saving advice should come from experts. Always consult with your physician about any and all drugs. If it is an emergency, dial 911 or call emergency services.