Drug Testing: Essential Safety Tool or Reporting Deterrent?

Given the current opioid crisis, drug screening is an important part of creating a safe workplace especially for safety-sensitive positions. Each type of drug test presents its own benefits and challenges, including prehire testing, random testing, reasonable suspicion testing, post-incident testing, and return-to-duty and follow-up testing. In 2016, OSHA further fueled the controversial fire when it published a Final Rule in the Federal Register titled Improved Tracking of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. Some argue that the collection and publishing of company-specific injury and illness data incentivizes underreporting of injuries. Employers would be wise to adopt a policy that includes careful consideration and documentation of the rationale for every postinjury drug or alcohol test an employer decides to conduct, along with consistency in application, suggests Emily Scace in Safety Decisions Magazine.

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