One out of three owners of small businesses say that workers’ comp costs are challenging their bottom line. Many states offer a mandated workers comp discount for drug-free workplace programs. That alone illustrates their effectiveness.

1) Promote a safety culture — persistently

Constant messaging about safety helps promote a safety culture. When you interview new employees, tell them that they will be drug tested pre-hiring—and once employed will need to submit to random drug testing. The company cares about a safe, productive working environment for all workers, and one way to do that is to be vigilant about testing.

Workers Comp2) Protect proactively

  • Have a well-written safety control program.
  • Hold employees accountable for breaking rules.
  • Reward employees for following safety procedures.
  • Hold regular safety meetings to emphasize that safety is important to all who work there.
  • Have your safety program endorsed and executed by top management.

3) Document thoroughly

If an employee is injured while working, document and take photographs of the accident and the area affected, and get information from witnesses. Memories are not always reliable.

4) Deal with employees you suspect may be impaired

An employee who is slurring, falling asleep or exhibiting other signs of drug or alcohol use needs to be dealt with immediately and appropriately. An impaired individual could be the source of the next accident. Make sure all supervisors are trained to recognize what they can do and, more importantly, what they are obligated to do.

5) Post-accident testing

When an accident occurs, the employee must be tested for any substances in his system that may have caused or contributed to the accident. In Illinois, the Illinois Workers Comp Act supports the employer if the injured party is impaired.

Many states have some form of legalized marijuana, with more on the way, and misuse of prescription drugs is on a frightening rise. A positive test may help the employer defend a workers comp claim.

6) Be proactive—prevent loss and accidents through testing

Accidents often occur because someone was careless—or distracted. By understanding how drugs and alcohol affect your body, it’s easier to see why accidents happen.

The following are common signs of impairment:

  • Diminished concentration
  • Delays in decision making
  • Erratic cognitive functions
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Forgetfulness
  • Slow reactions

One proven answer to reducing workers comp nightmares is to test for substance abuse at pre-employment, randomly, for suspicion and post-accident.

Understand that most drugs are detectable in urine for only a few days, so frequency of testing is important.

Test, test, and test again to protect your workers who don’t use — or to prevent you from hiring less productive (or dangerous) people with substance addictions.

Test, test, and test again to protect your company from workers comp costs.

Need help? Contact InOut Labs.