A complete guide on implementing post-accident drug testing at the workplace

Who does not want a safe working atmosphere? Everyone wants that, and especially the employers try their best to safeguard their employee’s interest and the company’s goodwill.

However, accidents are bound to happen and the owner is liable to find out the cause. But, how does an employer determine the reason behind the accident? Post-accident drug testing is one of the ways to ensure workplace safety, and a lot of employers rely on it.

What is post-accident drug testing?

Post-Accident testing refers to the drug test performed on an employee involved in an accident during work.  It is a general observation that the companies implementing a pre-employment and post-accident drug testing protocol not only succeeds in creating a better workplace environment. But can also reduce both legal liabilities and save on their insurance expense.

How does post-accident drug testing help employers?

It discourages the consumption of any drugs by employees while at work. It also stops the effect of drugs from hindering an employee’s working capacity. These screenings have become a crucial part of the post-accident investigation protocol. But a positive result does not always suggest that the accident is the result of an employee being under influence of the drugs.

How is post-accident drug testing done?

There are many protocols available for post-accident drug testing.

  • Breath analysis is one of the most basic procedures for drug testing.
  • Urine samples are also taken to check for the use of illicit drugs. 
  • Oral fluid is the most ideal choice for post-accident drug testing as it can easily track the drug used in recent times. One thing that makes oral fluids a better alternative is that the person has to give a sample under supervision. There are minimal chances of tampering and the results are pretty accurate. Also, collection of saliva can happen on-site. 
  • Hair-follicle testing is also a method for drug testing as the chemicals consumed by humans can stay accumulated in their hair follicles for about 90 days.

Why is post-accident drug testing important?

Although the basic purpose of this protocol is to check if the accident was caused due to an employee being under influence, this kind of drug testing provides other benefits as well.

Following are some of the perks of including post-accident drug testing in your company’s policy:

  • Instant determination if drug consumption was one of the reasons behind the accident.
  • Deterring substance abuse at the workplace and thereby establishing a safer work environment.
  • Cutting down on the company’s insurance cost in case an employee is found to be responsible for accident

The employers can also claim for certain benefits if they assure the state that they have a drug testing policy. Implementing this protocol helps employers find the source and cause of the accident, and required amendments can be made accordingly.

What are the types of drugs tested via post-accident drug testing?

Usually, employees are tested for five kinds of illicit drugs: alcohol, amphetamines, cocaine, opiates and TCH. However, there are no limitations to this list and the company can freely include other drugs to it. Some companies also test for the prescription drugs consumed by their employees.

When is this screening performed?

Ideally, the post-drug screening should be performed within 12 hours of the incident. However, alcohol testing should be done as soon as possible as alcohol exits the system pretty fast as compared to other drugs. The ideal time for alcohol screening is within two hours from the accident. If for any reasons, one could not test the employee within the suggested time frame, then no test should be conducted after that. Any employee that refuses the screening should be subjected to disciplinary action.

Is an employee allowed to continue working after screening?

Generally, the company should not allow any employees involved in the accident to enter the workplace before the test results arrive. Once the manager or the owner of the workplace has the reports, the employees can be allowed to work if proven sober while the accident happened. If proven otherwise, the company should wait for a legal decision before allowing the employee to continue working.

Where to perform post-accident screening?

Some companies prefer conducting these tests off-site, but a lot of companies hire an on-site drug testing service. These services send trained specimen collectors on the site of the accident and report the results to the company within a short period. 24/7 on-site drug and alcohol testing is one such company that offers post-accident screening on-site.


Post-accident drug testing is very important for organisations working with multiple employees. And should be mentioned in the substance abuse policy of the company. The vital benefits that it offers are the reduction of insurance costs and discouraging substance abuse at the workplace. And above all, it offers peace of mind to the employers.