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New OSHA guidance reveals safety incentive programs and drug tests

OSHA icon3 min read

It’s better to be safe than sorry when you report workplace incidents, and OSHA wants you to know that. Under a new guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), most safety incentive programs and drug testing policies are not considered retaliatory.

Previously, the agency stated that the guidance could deter employees from reporting work-related injuries and post-accident drug and alcohol testing in fear of retaliation. The updated guidance clarifies that safety incentive programs are unlawful and retaliatory only if they seek to punish an employee rather than promote workplace safety and health.

Lawful safety programs include:

  • Incentive programs that reward employees for reporting unsafe conditions in the workplace
  • Employee training programs to reinforce reporting rights and responsibilities
  • Systems for accurately evaluating employees’ willingness to report injuries and illnesses

Lawful types of drug tests include:

  • Random drug testing
  • Drug testing unrelated to the reporting of a work-related injury/illness
  • Drug testing under state workers’ compensation law and other federal law
  • Drug testing to evaluate the cause of a workplace incident that harmed or could have harmed employees

To ensure your policies are compliant with OSHA’s new guidance, you can learn more here.