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What the New OSHA Rules Mean for Your Workplace Drug Testing Policy

When it comes to workplace drug testing, it’s vital for employers to keep up with all new laws and regulations. Not doing so can mean being subjected to punitive fines. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently issued new final rules that become effective on August 10, 2016. Some of these rules may have an impact on your company’s workplace drug testing policy.

New Maximum Penalties

Congress passed a law in 2015 that requires federal agencies like OSHA to use the Consumer Price Index to guide the penalties they levy. OSHA last updated their penalties in 1990. Since then, the CPI has raised by 78 percent. Accordingly, employers who violate OSHA’s rules can expect huge penalties for fines levied after August 10.

New Workplace Drug Testing Rules

OSHA has adjusted its stance on workplace drug testing to curb company drug testing policies that appear to be retaliatory. Workplace drug testing is still permitted. Nonetheless, OSHA believes that a “blanket” approach in which drug testing takes place after the report of every illness or injury has the potential to be retaliatory in nature.

Reasonable Workplace Drug Testing Policies

Employers are being required to ask for a post-injury drug test only when it is reasonable. This means that an employee who reports a repetitive strain injury or a wound caused by a malfunctioning tool would not likely be required to submit to drug testing. Instead, tests would only be conducted in situations where drug use would have been “likely to have contributed to the incident.”

Observing Other Laws

State law or workers compensation requirements may still call for workplace drug testing in other circumstances. Accordingly, an employer would not necessarily be penalized by OSHA if they asked for a drug test in line with a state law or guideline for workers compensation.

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