The Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA has agreed to further delay enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions in its injury and illness tracking rule until Dec. 1, 2016. Several lawsuits have been filed challenging OSHA on this issue and The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas requested the additional delay to allow time to consider a motion challenging the new provisions.
The anti-retaliation provisions, originally scheduled to begin Aug. 10, 2016, were previously delayed until Nov. 10 to allow time for outreach to the regulated community, and are not slated to go into affect on Dec 1.
Under the rule, employers are required to:
1. Inform workers of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation;
2. Implement procedures for reporting injuries and illnesses that are reasonable and do not deter workers from reporting;
3. And incorporate the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against workers for reporting injuries and illnesses.
OSHA’s FAQ page states that the new rule “does not prohibit drug testing of employees. It only prohibits employers from using drug testing, or the threat of drug testing, as a form of retaliation against employees who report injuries or illnesses.”
Even though it does not prohibit post accident testing, employers should start planning to make potential changes in their drug free workplace policies. It is important to understand that the OSHA rule will NOT affect DOT required testing or State drug free workplace programs that require post-accident testing.
If you are a non-DOT regulated employers who is not enrolled in a State drug free workplace program and you policy contains any of the following, you should consider reviewing your policy and possibly making some changes:
1. If the policy requires automatic blanket testing of anyone involved in an accident.
2. The policy uses post-accident triggers such as a dollar amount of damage.
3. The policy requires drug testing after any workplace accident, no matter the scale.
Many employers still do not have a policy or have not updated or reviewed it recently.
Here are some tips to make sure your policy is OSHA compliant:
–Have the policy reviewed for OSHA compliance issues.
–Limit post-accident testing to situations and individuals where there is reasonable cause to believe impairment played a role.
–Provide Training for supervisors to recognize signs of substance abuse, properly address employees if a reasonable suspicion situation arise, and document effectively for reasonable suspicion purposes.
If you would like assistance in any of these areas or want to set up a drug free workplace program, National Drug Screening can help. Our team is also available for consultation and policy reviews. You can also check out our NDS Blog www.nationaldrugscreening.com to stay current on this important topic and get answers to many other common questions. I am Tom Fulmer with National Drug Screening, Thanks for watching.