Are You Required to Take a Drug Test After a Work Injury?

Many companies have zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policies to promote workplace safety. After a work injury, they’ll test you to determine if these substances were a factor. A positive drug test could allow them to deny your workers comp claim and take disciplinary action like suspension or termination.

A Cleveland workers compensation attorney can help you with your claim to make sure the risk of denial is minimized and you receive the compensation you deserve.

When Can an Employer Require a Drug Test After a Work Injury?

Most companies require drug tests immediately following a work injury to rule out the possibility that drugs were a contributing factor. If your employer has reason to believe that drugs or alcohol may have played a role in your accident or injury, they can require a drug test.

The severity of your injury can also trigger a required drug test. For example, if you suffer an injury that requires medical treatment beyond basic first aid, your employer may mandate a drug test before allowing you to return to work.

While inconvenient, drug tests following workplace accidents serve an important purpose. Knowing you were not under the influence at the time of injury can help prevent confusion and ensure you receive appropriate medical care and benefits.

Safety is another major reason for the policy. If an employee is frequently intoxicated on the job, it puts everyone at risk. Requiring a drug test after an accident helps identify employees who may have a substance abuse problem so the employer can take appropriate action.

Workers’ Compensation Drug Testing Initiative

In Ohio, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) promotes drug-free workplaces and reduced work-related injuries. As part of this, the BWC encourages employers to drug test employees after an accident.

Even if a company doesn’t participate in the BWC program, it may have a drug testing policy following an injury. The goal of post-accident drug testing is to promote safety and determine if drug use contributed to the accident.

If drugs are detected, it may affect your workers comp benefits. However, a positive test alone does not prove that drugs caused your injury. Your employer must show that drug use was a factor for your benefits to be denied or reduced.

your employer has the right to administer a drug test

What Happens if You Fail a Post-Injury Drug Test?

Failing a drug test after a workplace injury does not necessarily mean you will be fired. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration prohibits employers from making post-accident drug testing mandatory or firing employees for reporting accidents.

However, employers can still terminate employees who violate company drug policies. If you live in a state with at-will employment, you can be fired for any reason. But if drug use did not directly cause or contribute to your accident, termination may be unjustified.

While your job may be safe, failing a drug test could impact your workers compensation benefits. The insurance company may deny or reduce benefits if drug intoxication was found to contribute to your injury.

What If You Refuse The Test?

Refusing a drug test after an on-the-job accident is typically seen as an admission of drug use by employers and the BWC. Your employer may discipline you, and the BWC can deny or lower your benefits. The only exception is if you have a valid medical reason for refusing testing, which your doctor must document.

While post-accident drug testing aims to promote safety and determine the cause of accidents, it can negatively impact employees who test positive. However, by following your company’s drug policy and taking extra caution on the job, you can avoid getting injured in the first place and having to worry about the consequences of a drug test.

A Cleveland Workers Comp Attorney Can Help You Secure Your Benefits

If you failed a drug test after a work injury in Cleveland, don’t lose hope. You may still be eligible for workers compensation benefits. However, it’s important to speak with an experienced Cleveland workers comp lawyer as soon as possible to determine how the failed drug test may impact your case and what options you have moving forward.

Call us today at (833) 406-0060!