OSHA recently announced that it is softening a hardline approach adopted during the previous administration restricting the use of post-accident drug testing.
OSHA sent a memo to its regional administrators on October 11th that supplies a more permissive interpretation of its regulation prohibiting employers from discharging or discriminating against employees for reporting a work-related injury.
Previously, the agency had declared that employers could not use “drug testing (or the threat of drug testing) as a form of adverse action against employees who report injuries or illnesses.”
Employers were limited to using drug testing only when there was a “reasonable possibility” that drugs or alcohol contributed to the accident or injury. The earlier OSHA decision had assumed that regardless of employers’ intent, the threat of a drug test would intimidate employees into not reporting accidents.
In this memo, the new OSHA leadership declared that the existing rule will not be interpreted as prohibiting the implementation of post-incident drug testing.
OSHA further declared that as far as it was concerned most instances of workplace drug testing are permissible.
If the employer chooses to use drug testing to investigate the incident, the employer should test all employees whose conduct could have contributed to the incident, not just employees who reported injuries.
Follow the link below to our YouTube video to watch our full recap of OSHA’s new memo.