The rules set forth by OSHA give us a lot of required actions that every business needs to follow. And every year, the agency has a number of possible new rules that are assessed and then either rejected or accepted as new regulations. These possible actions go from the pre-rule stage, when no ruling has been made, to the rule stage and then to the final rule stage before they are accepted as OSHA workplace safety standards. In addition, clarifications are sometimes made on existing regulations.
Offering employees incentives in exchange for having no accidents and/or not having a positive drug test was once in question, as many employers wondered whether it was a violation of OSHA workplace safety standards. However, it has been ruled that these incentives are always allowed if they are made for positive actions, such as staying safe and staying drug-free. If the incentives are utilized in the reverse, such as punishing employees for having an accident, this is a clear violation of the regulations.
The Incentive Reasoning
For employers who have questioned why OSHA would encourage incentives for having no accidents, the agency had an explanation. Providing these incentives shows OSHA that the employer is really serious about keeping its employees safe instead of simply spouting the rules to avoid fines and other penalties. Giving out incentives shows that the company is ready to take further steps than just posting signage and talking about safety. An incentive can inspire better employee compliance, keeping employees safer.
Drug Testing Guidelines
While some workplaces have guidelines that discourage drug tests after an accident, there is no such regulation from OSHA. The agency does allow incentives for clean drug tests. But, as with accidents, it does not allow for punishments to be given through the incentive program, as it may encourage employees to cover up injuries when they happen. The incentive program should inspire employees to seek help for drug problems rather than to be even less safe due to
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