Drug testing in the workplace has become commonplace. As an employee, it may seem like an annoyance, an intrusion into your personal life, or an outright affront to your character. But often employers require drug testing to prevent workplace accidents.
Statistics confirm that workers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol are more likely to be involved in an accident than their sober colleagues. Moreover, many workers’ compensation carriers offer reduced premiums for employers that participate in a drug-free workplace program.
Although many people perceive drug and alcohol abusers as homeless and unemployed, the reality is that 75 percent of illegal drug users and 79 percent of heavy drinkers are employed, according to the Department of Labor. Moreover, 3.1 percent of illegal drug users admit to using drugs before or during working hours, and 7.1 percent of alcohol users admit to consuming alcohol during the workday.
An employee who is under the influence puts other employees at risk of being injured as well.
Workers who are injured during the course of employment in Pennsylvania are entitled to benefits through the Worker’s Compensation system. But the law specifically precludes a worker from collecting benefits if an accident was caused by the use of illegal drugs. The law states:
“…that no compensation shall be paid when the injury or death is intentionally self-inflicted, or is caused by the employee’s violation of law, including, but not limited to, the illegal use of drugs…”
In essence, this means that if a worker is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and has a workplace accident, there is a good chance that a workers’ compensation claim will be denied.
Although drug testing may seem intrusive, it does decrease the chance of a workplace accident. If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness in Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation benefits may be available to you. Although the workers’ compensation system is intended to protect injured workers, it can be difficult to navigate. If you have questions or concerns about your legal rights to compensation, contact the workplace injury lawyers at Shor & Levin at 866-462-8553 or use our Worker’s Compensation.