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Florida Workers’ Compensation Drug Free Workplaces Benefit Everyone


Workers’ compensation claims cost Florida businesses nearly $400 million in total benefits in 2016. There is a way to reduce these claims, and to receive workers’ compensation premium credits while you do it.

When employers create certified drug-free workplaces, there are plenty of benefits to go around. Employers enjoy maximized levels of productivity, greater competitiveness, and fewer work accidents related to impaired employees. Employees work in safer environments and enjoy the pride of consistent productivity. Consider the statistics:

  • The impact of substance abused in the workplace amounts to over $100 billion per annum in this country;
  • 500 million workdays are lost due to alcoholism every year;
  • 25 percent of violent workplace incidents are related to drugs and/or alcohol;
  • GM reports the average number of sick days used are 4.5, compared to 40 for drug-using employees each year.

When comprehensive workplace programs address substance abuse, employers have found astounding results:

  • Absenteeism decreased by up to 91 percent;
  • Problems with supervisors decreased by 88 percent;
  • Workplace mistakes decreased by 93 percent;
  • On-the-job injuries decreased by 97 percent.

How Can my Business Become a Workers’ Compensation Drug-Free Workplace?

1990 legislation in Florida outlines the criteria for ensuring a drug-free workplace:

  • Notify employees of the drug-free policy, including prohibition statement, types of testing requirements, and employer actions following a positive test;
  • Establish a testing protocol using a licensed laboratory in Florida;
  • Use a certified medical review officer (MRO) who must:
    • Communicate positive result information with employees;
    • Discuss plausible explanations for positive results (such as prescription medications) and report the test as negative in such circumstances;
  • Maintain confidentiality;
  • Provide information as to the types of drugs for which employees will be tested;
  • Coordinate policies with collective bargaining contracts;
  • Describe sanctions for employees who refuse to submit to drug testing;
  • Provide information related to Employee Assistance Programs in the area.

The Whens and Whos of Testing

Testing of all final candidates prior to employment is required, as well as for any employee for whom there is reasonable suspicion of drug use. That would include employees who have been observed using drugs or alcohol, or who exhibit symptoms of such, and employees who exhibit abnormal behavior or startling deterioration in job performance. Furthermore, if a credible source reports that an employee has drug involvement, or if there is evidence of tampering with a drug test, that employee should undergo further testing. Finally, employees involved in accidents should be tested.

Random testing of employees is optional.

Rights and Responsibilities

Starting up a drug free workplace program has very specific requirements. Additionally, protection of employee rights is paramount. Providing an employee education program, giving employees the opportunity to contest or appeal the results, maintaining proper chain-of custody, are all essential facets of conducting a fair and legal program that is successful. Having a legal team practiced in these matters can help to prevent challenges to your program down the road. To ensure your drug-free workplace program is properly developed, contact the experienced team at Barbas, Nuñez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian in Tampa today.


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