OSHA Issues Memorandum Clarifying Position on Incentive Program Drug Testing


Do you remember the memorandum OSHA issued in 2016 that warned employers about issuing post-accident drug tests without reasonable cause and discouraged using incentive programs that rewarded employees for not being injured?  That memorandum was issued by the Obama Administration and was intended to minimize the chance of employees being discriminated against for reporting injuries.  To say it created a “buzz” is an understatement!

Well… the Trump Administration issued a follow-up memorandum on October 11, 2018, that reversed OSHA’s stance.  The new memorandum still discourages doing anything to intentionally discriminate against employees, but it clearly says post-accident drug testing is permissible and so are “rate-based” incentive programs.  To read the exact language of this memorandum click here.

While this is likely perceived as good news for many, we still encourage companies to avoid using incentive programs that are solely based on rates/injuries.  In our opinion, these types of programs may encourage under-reporting of injuries and they are not as effective as other programs.  Instead, we encourage structuring incentives around other efforts such as employee participation, training attendance, and inspection scores.  Please let us know if you need help developing an effective Incentive or Substance Abuse program.

A syringe with glass vials and medications pills drug test report

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