Last updated: April 6, 2020
A workers’ comp drug test isn’t required every time that an employee files a claim. However, certain conditions warrant the test. Employers document these conditions in their company drug testing policies.
Employers pay workers’ compensation insurance premiums. It ensures that employees who suffer job-related injuries and illnesses receive benefits while they are unable to work. The program is state-regulated in regard to the laws and the programs available. There is also a federally regulated workers’ comp program, however, it’s largely reserved for federal employees only.
For the most part, employees with work-related injuries or illnesses can apply for and receive workers’ comp benefits no matter who was at fault.
However, there are some limitations. Again, because the majority of workers’ comp programs operate at the state level, your representative will guide you through specific laws in your state.
USA Mobile Drug Testing’s customized drug-testing program ensures full compliance with all state laws and regulations. All the while, helping you create a safer, healthier, and more productive workplace.
A drug-free workplace
Many state workers’ comp programs offer employers a premium discount when they take part in the state-regulated drug-free program.
Drugs in the workplace pose a huge safety risk for everyone. Drug use affects thinking and motor skills. Employees may suffer from a misguided sense of time and space. Some drugs cause drowsiness, clouded judgment, or a number of other side-effects that can result in a workplace accident.
Not only does the employee put themselves at risk, but they put everyone around them at risk as well.
It’s a proven fact that employers who implement employee drug-testing programs reduce the number of workers’ comp claims filed. In fact, there’s a decrease in workplace accidents as a whole.
Workers’ comp claims pertaining to an injury accident or catastrophic injury require drug testing to aid investigators in determining the cause.
Drugs and alcohol are the number one cause of workplace accidents. It’s for that reason that employers include post-accident drug testing in their drug-testing policies. If an employee tests positive for drug use in a post-accident situation, it shields them from legal and financial liability.
Employees that suffer an injury on the job that requires off-site medical attention are likely to file a workers’ comp claim to supplement their household income until they can return to work. A positive drug test may mean there will be no benefits paid at all. It can also mean a reduction in the benefits provided. It depends on the employer and workers’ comp policies.
Refusal to submit to the test can equate to the refusal of benefits as well. Actually, in all likelihood, refusal to test will wind up costing them their job too.
Catastrophic workers’ comp claims only account for 1% of workers’ compensation claims overall. Even so, the payout consistently accounts for around 20% of the annual losses because it’s hard to determine the cost of a life-changing injury. The continued rise in medical costs, of course, poses the biggest problem when trying to estimate the total overall cost going forward.
Injuries included in the catastrophic category are:
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Burn injuries
- Multiple trauma injuries
An employer may suffer devastating financial loss if they are found at fault in the case of a catastrophic accident. It’s crucial to discover if drug use was a contributing factor in any way.
Notify your insurance company immediately when this type of accident occurs. They will begin the claim process by obtaining the necessary release forms and drafting a preservation letter to preserve the blood or urine specimens collected upon the employee’s admission.
To determine impairment at the time of the accident, administer the drug test as soon as possible. It’s best to collect the specimen no more than two hours after the accident occurred. However, it’s often hard to get the process started and receive the necessary court-ordered release forms within such a short time span.
A preservation letter requests the hospital to hold all specimens collected upon admission for drug testing once all proper documentation is in place.
The drug test
A blood test is usually the chosen test method for post-accident and catastrophic claim drug testing. It detects current impairment by identifying the parent drug. Other test methods identify the drug metabolites created after passing through the metabolization process. Urine tests may not provide sufficient evidence of drug use due because of that fact.
However, they are the choice of some employers and workers’ compensation insurance companies.
A positive drug test usually results in the denial of benefits in the following instances:
- The employee was under the influence of alcohol or impaired by drug use at the time of the incident.
- An investigation proves that drug or alcohol use caused the accident.
The fact that the employee was impaired doesn’t automatically make the accident their fault. If there were any other contributing factors to the injury other than drug use, the employee may still be eligible to receive benefits. Employers follow directives established in the company policy.
Overall, workers’ compensation insurance protects both the employer and his employees.
The value of drug testing in the workplace proves itself over and over. By weeding out employees that abuse drugs, employers are better able to ensure a safe work environment for all. That includes other employees, customers, and, in the case of those regulated by the DOT, everyone on the highways and byways of our great nation.
We can help you establish your drug-free workplace program. USA Mobile Drug Testing will help you customize your policies to pertain specifically to your company. We can handle your entire employee drug testing program for you from administering the test to ensuring you’re always in compliance. Employee and management training resources are available too.
Furthermore, when you are in need of post-accident testing, we show up anywhere you need us.
Day or night.