Is your business traversing the muddy waters of medical marijuana use in the workplace? A workers comp insurance consultant may be able to help you....
Confront the Reality of Medical Marijuana
Because many view pot as a recreational drug, the idea of condoning its use in the workplace may seem laughable at first. In reality, however, the treatment of medical marijuana in the workplace, from a legal perspective, is not much different than other powerful drugs doctors have been legally prescribing for years, with medical marijuana simply taking its place in the lineup.
There’s No Need to Overhaul Existing Drug Policies
Assuming, of course, you already have such rules in place for dealing with the use of other prescription drugs that impair mental capacity. You still have a legal duty to accommodate the needs of those with medical conditions or disabilities, while at the same time upholding a safe work environment.
A Doctor’s Note is Not Carte Blanche
A legal prescription does not give an employee the right to smoke marijuana whenever and wherever they want at work. Employees have never had the right to work while knowingly impaired, and the safety of others from workplace incidents – and secondhand smoke – is paramount. Employers are not obligated to accommodate employees beyond the point of undue hardship. Some employers are even able to enact a zero tolerance policy for specific jobs, such as heavy equipment operators, pilots, and surgeons.
Learn the ins and outs of medical marijuana in the workplace with the help of a workers comp insurance consultant on the cutting-edge of today’s industry changes. Contact Minnesota Comp Advisor today.
OSHA laws regarding post-accident reporting and required drug testing in the workplace are rapidly evolving. This makes careful reviews of your current practices with your workers comp insurance consultant integral to compliance and avoiding legal ramifications resulting from the many conflicting laws nationwide.
The Recent Stir Regarding Post-Accident Drug Tests
Effective December 1, 2016, new OSHA regulations require employers to establish a “reasonable procedure” for employees to report work-related injuries/illnesses promptly and accurately. Employers are specifically warned against discouraging reporting and prohibited from retaliation. Thus far OSHA comments – but not official rulemakers – have expressed opinions on post-accident drug testing that have implied these tests are retaliatory and unlawful, unless facts indicate such impairment may have played a role.
What Does this Mean for the Many Employers Commonly Utilizing Drug Testing for Safety Programs?
OSHA has stated: “To strike the appropriate balance, drug testing policies should limit post-incident testing to situations in which employee drug use is likely to have contributed to the incident, and for which the drug test can accurately identify impairment caused by drug use.” How can you ensure compliance?
- Review policies, ensuring compliance with current state-specific requirements.
- Consider post-accident testing on a case-by-case basis, specifically following noted signs of impairment, training supervisors/managers on recognizing symptoms and documentation protocols.
- Consider switching to oral fluid/saliva testing, which is non-invasive, and whose results can detect drug use and identify present psychoactive components immediately, and up to four days after drug-use.
- Keep employees abreast of company policy changes.
As marijuana legalization expands, stay up-to-date on the latest OSHA actions, enlisting the trusted help of a workers comp insurance consultant from Minnesota Comp Advisor today.
Employee Management Tips:
The transfer of opioid analgesics by patients who have received legitimate prescriptions to others can be thwarted with the commitment of all prescribers to Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs), including mandatory consultation of a PDMP before prescribing. This will identify doctor-shopping patients alongside over-prescribing physicians. Reporting and accessibility idiosyncrasies, however, must be ironed out.
Quadrupling in the past 15 years, 61% of U.S. drug overdose deaths in 2014 were attributable to opioids – with nonfatal ODs even more prevalent. Type, dose, potency, duration of action, history of substance addiction, liver/kidney dysfunction, depression/suicidal tendencies, and previous overdose(s) increase the risk, as does the concurrent prescription of respiratory depressants.
Here, the risk assessment, drug pre-screening, and patient education on risk factors and signs are key. Extreme caution is also warranted for high-dosage or long-acting drugs, along with more frequent follow-up and patient/family member access to naloxone, a fast-acting injectable medicine for the treatment of overdose.
Dealing with Addiction
Methods for preventing addiction parallel overdose-prevention measures, such as risk assessment, drug contracts, regular monitoring, and pre-prescription urine drug testing, are key to success. Referrals for addiction treatment should be used whenever necessary, including specialized or medication-assisted treatment and naloxone access.
Put today’s health issues in the spotlight for the betterment of your workplace with these and other employee management tips from MinnesotaCompAdvisor today.
The influence of drugs and alcohol in the workplace can cause an abundance of issues, resulting in an array of expenses to business and industry. Are you identifying workers who may need help and protecting your company against the unnecessary costs of addiction with drug testing?
The impacts of drug dependence in the workplace are serious
Most prevalent in the food service, installation, maintenance and repair, construction and excavation, and mining and drilling industries, drug dependent employees can become a drain on your company with:
- Absenteeism and added sick leave.
- Tardiness and sleeping on the job.
- Higher turnover.
- Lost efficiency/production.
- Poor decision making.
- Increased injury and accident rates.
- Premature death/fatal accidents.
- Increased legal liability and workers’ compensation costs.
Preventing drug use from overpowering your workplace
As an employer, you can positively assist employees in managing addiction while also reducing costs by encouraging and promoting:
- Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)
These confidential, short-term counseling programs address a multitude of issues, from drug abuse to financial and marital issues, which can affect an employee’s performance. They may refer alcohol and drug abuse dependents to other providers for additional treatment help. The programs are typically staffed by professional counselors, and can be operated in-house or through EAP agency providers via contracts. They are a great way to help employees and quickly pay for themselves in reduced healthcare costs.
- Drug Free Workplace Policies
Including written substance abuse policies, mandatory drug testing, and information on the hazards of substance abuse.
Are you missing out on programs essential to the health of your business and employees? Minnesota Comp Advisor has your needs at heart. Learn more today.