Posts Tagged ‘drug tests’

Drug Testing Can Greatly Reduce Workers’ Compensation Costs

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

According to CAI’s most recent Policies and Benefits survey, 30% of employers are not conducting drug tests.  Besides the obvious benefits of having a drug-free workplace, another side benefit from drug testing is that it may reduce your workers compensation costs.  On the one hand, employees who are under the influence are more likely to experience injuries to themselves or others.  So the knowledge that you conduct post-accident drug and alcohol testing will dissuade most employees and therefore reduce accidents and costs.drugfreezone

Also, under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, no compensation will be paid for a workplace injury or death if it was proximately caused by, among other things, the employee’s intoxication, provided the intoxicant was not supplied by the employer (company social event) or being under the influence of a controlled substance listed in the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act (G.S. 90-86) unless it was prescribed by a doctor and the prescribed dosages were being followed.  Note, there isn’t an automatic denial of claims due to intoxication but odds are in the employer’s favor unless it can be proven the accident was in no way related to the “altered state” so to speak.

The best way to increase the odds that such claims will be denied is to incorporate a comprehensive drug and alcohol testing policy. Without such a policy, denial of workers compensation claims due to being under the influence may be harder to achieve.

North Carolina employers who drug test are required to comply with the NC Controlled Substances Examination Regulation Act which regulates notice requirements to examinees, requires approved laboratories and chain of custody safeguards, specifies conditions for applicant and employee testing, requires confirmation tests on positive samples, and entitles an employee who tests positive to have a retest, if requested, of the same sample at the employee’s expense.

Many states have a provision in their Workers’ Compensation law disqualifying an employee for compensation if the injury was caused by being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  A number of states also give discounts on Workers’ Compensation premiums (generally 5-7%) for implementing a Drug-Free Workplace Program.  CCH, the Members-only resource, provides State Law Summaries on Workers’ Compensation laws.

The US Department of Labor has resources for developing a drug-free workplace program.  While this is a requirement for federal contractors, the resources are helpful to all employers.  Consult the state law for specific requirements in other states.  Our drug-testing partner, PDSS, is also a resource for policy development, testing, and in-depth expertise in this area.

CAI encourages drug-free workplaces. Learn how drug testing programs can increase the efficiency and productivity of your organization at CAI.

Drug Testing Can Greatly Reduce Workers’ Compensation Costs

Thursday, October 8th, 2015
Pat Rountree, HR Advisor

Pat Rountree, HR Advisor

CAI’s Advice and Resolution team member Pat Rountree shares valuable information regarding the connection between drug testing and lower compensations costs for your business.

According to CAI’s most recent Policies and Benefits survey, 30% of employers are not conducting drug tests.  Besides the obvious benefits of having a drug-free workplace, another side benefit from drug testing is that it may reduce your workers’ compensation costs.  On the one hand, employees who are under the influence are more likely to experience injuries to themselves or others.  So the knowledge that you conduct post-accident drug and alcohol testing will dissuade most employees and therefore reduce accidents and costs.

Also, under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, no compensation will be paid for a workplace injury or death if it was proximately caused by, among other things, the employee’s intoxication, provided the intoxicant was not supplied by the employer (company social event) or being under the influence of a controlled substance listed in the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act (G.S. 90-86) unless it was prescribed by a doctor and the prescribed dosages were being followed.  Note, there isn’t an automatic denial of claims due to intoxication but odds are in the employer’s favor unless it can be proven the accident was in no way related to the “altered state” so to speak.

The best way to increase the odds that such claims will be denied is to incorporate a comprehensive drug and alcohol testing policy. Without such a policy, denial of workers’ compensation claims due to being under the influence may be harder to achieve.

North Carolina employers who drug test are required to comply with the NC Controlled Substances Examination Regulation Act which regulates notice requirements to examinees, requires approved laboratories and chain of custody safeguards, specifies conditions for applicant and employee testing, requires confirmation tests on positive samples, and entitles an employee who tests positive to have a retest, if requested, of the same sample at the employee’s expense.

Many states have a provision in their Workers’ Compensation law disqualifying an employee for compensation if the injury was caused by being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  A number of states also give discounts on Workers’ Compensation premiums (generally 5-7%) for implementing a Drug-Free Workplace Program.  CCH, the Members-only resource, provides State Law Summaries on Workers’ Compensation laws.

CAI encourages drug-free workplaces.  The US Department of Labor has resources for developing a drug-free workplace program.  While this is a requirement for federal contractors, the resources are helpful to all employers.  Consult the state law for specific requirements in other states.  Our drug-testing partner, PDSS, is also a resource for policy development, testing, and in-depth expertise in this area.

For more information on how you can reduce your company’s cost of workers’ compensation through drug testing, please contact our Advice and Resolution team today at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Communicating Policies for Drug Tests in the Workplace

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Even though drug tests for employees have been around nearly 100 years (the Ford Motor Company performed them as early as 1914), the policy remains controversial. If you are making random drug testing a part of your workplace program, the U.S. Department of Labor recommends that you take the following actions to lessen the negative reactions it may receive:

  • Treat your employees with dignity and respect, and honor their privacy.
  • Create a drug testing policy that specifies the type of drug testing used, the testing’s frequency, and the names of the substances for which the employee will be tested.
  • Provide fair and consistent methods for employee selection for drug testing.

Make sure your employees understand the reason(s) why you are implementing drug testing. It could be in order to follow mandates that already exist within the industry, or to bring yourself in line with what your competitors are doing, for example. Let them know drug testing is not meant as punishment for them either. The goal of a drug free workplace program is to provide the opportunity for employees to obtain treatment, overcome their substance abuse issues and return to work. It is meant to help them, not hurt them.

If your employees question the use of drug testing even after taking these measures, let them know that North Carolina law allows employers to conduct controlled substance examinations within certain guidelines. An employer can require that an applicant or employee submit to a drug test as a condition of hiring or of continued employment, and refusal to take it can result in termination or dismissal from consideration of employment.

To ease their minds further, you can have your employees review the state’s administrative rules about the procedural standards to be followed when drug testing. The 22-page document is available at http://www.nclabor.com/wh/Controlled_Substance_Examination_Regulation_Act_Packet.pdf.

As with all HR policies, drug testing programs that have clearly communicated procedures and conditions that are discussed, reviewed and uniformly applied to all employees will be much more effective than those that do not follow these steps.

For more details, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo Source: micahb37