The Importance of Drug Testing Post Workplace Accident

Accidents will happen in the workplace but many are preventable. According to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, substance abuse factors into 38-50% of workers’ compensation claims. Drug and alcohol use on the job creates an unproductive and unsafe work environment. 

Post-Accident Testing

When an accident happens on the job, post incident drug testing can be a useful part of the investigation. It may seem like an invasion of privacy for some but the practice protects the employee who was involved in the accident as well as other workers and the company. With the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in many states, there is a second legal drug along with alcohol that some employees may use during the workday. This is a dangerous practice. Finding out that an employee is engaging in it allows the company to send the employee to a rehab program which helps everyone.

Five-Panel vs. 10-Panel

Employers who test post-accident have mainly used a five-panel screening, so named because it tests for five substances: marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates, and PCP. As the use of more drugs has been more common over time, a 10-panel screen is now recommended. This test adds five additional drugs: methadone, methaqualone, barbiturates, propoxyphene, and valium.

When an accident happens on the job, it’s important to know why it happened to prevent it in the future. Testing for drugs after the accident allows a company to determine if an employee has a substance abuse problem and take steps to correct it. This makes for a safe work environment for everyone.