What is Post-Accident Drug Testing?

Post-accident drug testing is an important factor in determining whether drugs and/or alcohol were used by an individual involved in an accident. Since property damage or personal injury may result from accidents, testing following an accident is often used by employers to prove their employee was not using drugs and/or alcohol.  It is important to establish objective criteria that will prompt a post-accident test and how and by whom they will be determined and recorded.  Examples of criteria used by employers include:  damage to property or vehicles past a stipulated monetary amount; deaths; injuries that require medical assistance; and citations issued by the police. 


While the results of a post-accident test will determine drug use, a positive test result alone cannot prove that drug use caused an accident or incident.  Many employers broaden the test trigger to incidents even if an accident or injury was avoided and as such use the term “post-incident” also. Drugs will stay in an individual’s system for differing amounts of time, and it is advised that post-accident testing happen within 12 hours or less, since different drugs may have different windows of detection. When post-accident testing is carried out, it is a good idea for employers not to allow employees involved in any accident to return to work before or after the testing occurs.  This way, if the results return as positive, the employee will not have endangered any people or equipment by working in the interim. Generally, employees should not return to work until after test results have been received.

All federally mandated drug tests (like those demanded by the Department of Transportation) are required to use urine. In the general U.S. workforce, as with reasonable suspicion drug testing, urine and oral fluid are appropriate post-accident testing specimen types. This is because of their ability to detect recent drug use and its potential involvement in the accident/incident. At the opposite end of the spectrum, hair testing, which characterizes long term patterns of repetitive usage, is not suitable for post-accident drug testing.

How does Post-Accident Testing benefit employers?

Every employer should make a careful decision about the drug testing program components that are most beneficial for their workplace. The employer must establish objective criteria for how and when post-accident drug testing will occur, plainly communicating all the details in their company’s drug-testing policy. Employers also need to have guidelines to specify how soon following an accident testing must occur so results are relevant.  Employers in certain states may be eligible for certain benefits related to workers’ compensation insurance premiums and claims if they participate in their state’s voluntary drug free workplace programs that typically includes both pre-employment and post-accident drug testing. Post-accident drug testing is one more resource at an employer’s disposal as they work to improve health and safety while reducing cost and risk as part of a thorough workplace drug testing program. Because every business and workforce is unique, it is important to take care when establishing the criteria for your business’s drug testing. This is a critical matter and will be a very important part of your employees’ lives. If you do not currently utilize this method of testing, why not explore the purpose of post-accident drug testing and your procedural options?


How does Post-Accident Testing benefit employees?

Drug testing can help to improve employee productivity and morale while decreasing absences, accidents, turnover, stealing, and downtime.  Unlike most of the other reasons for testing, post-accident testing is less about avoiding hiring a drug using applicant or discouraging drug use among employees. Instead it’s used as an aid in evaluating whether or not unsafe work practices may be related to drug use.  That said, there is also peace of mind that comes from discounting the impact of drug use as a possible influence in an accident.


Hire Dr. Michael Givens DC, CME to do your Post-Accident Testing!  Dr. Givens DC, CME is qualified, received accredited training and is listed on the US Department of Transportation National Registry of DOT Certified Medical Examiners.

His office provides Occupational Health Services including DOT and Non-DOT exams, drug & alcohol testing, on-site employee testing, DOT compliance, pre-employment exams, workman’s comp treatment for musculo-skeletal injuries, physical modalities, reasonable suspicion, paternity testing, post-accident testing,  Judicial (Court Ordered)

2917 Independence | Ste 400 | Cape Girardeau MO | 63703|573-651-8686

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