Drug testing following a workplace accident is allowed in California, however there are special rules and regulations you must follow to ensure that you’re acting lawfully. The best approach is to take a ‘common sense’ approach to deciding whether drug testing is relevant. For example if the employee has developed carpal tunnel syndrome after years of repetitive work, then that wouldn’t be a reasonable ground for drug testing, but if they had a truck driving accident while delivering something, then it would be worth completing a drug screening panel. For more information how to best conduct drug testing following a workplace accident, keep reading to learn more:
Time is of the Essence for Accurate Testing
After a workplace incident, it is imperative that you make drug testing a priority if it’s something that is relevant. For example if a crash happens, employers are required to ensure drug testing happens within 8 hours for alcohol testing and within 32 hours for drug testing. California drug testing laws dictate that outside of this window the results will not be reliable, and the employee must cease their efforts to have their employee drug tested. If you’re unsuccessful in getting your employee to take a drug test it is imperative that you keep a record of attempts and why they were not successful. At the scene, a police officer can request an alcohol test, and also take the employee to the police station to conduct drug testing.
Refusal of a Drug Test or a Positive Result
Drivers are considered positive for drug or alcohol use if they refuse a test, if their alcohol reading is above a certain level or if they test positive for drugs in their system. It’s a good idea to consult a lawyer if your employee refuses their drug test or returns a positive result, as you may be able to take action to dismiss the employee.
Steps to Take
The most important thing to do is to follow company policy regarding drug testing following a workplace accident. Be sure that the company policy is up-to-date and is within your rights in the law. Immediately following the accident, take a written statement from your employee and any other relevant employees who may have witnessed the accident. The statement should ask specifically whether the involved employee/s consumed any alcohol within the previous 24 hours preceding the accident, or any drugs within the previous month. Ensure that the employee/s sign the statement. You’ll want to have the drug tests performed by a reputable lab, and they should follow any emergency care needed by the employee. If drug use is suspected, it can be useful to interview coworkers and to create written statements if any of them suspect drug use.
Dealing with a workplace accident can be stressful for all parties involved. Having a clear workplace post accident drug testing policy can help streamline the process and what steps to take after an incident. Hopefully these tips help you feel more clear about how to manage drug testing after a workplace accident in the state of California.