Tennessee Drug-Free Workplace Program

Substance abusing workers can wreak havoc on a workplace

  1. Damaging employee morale,
  2. Hindering productivity and, worse,
  3. Placing the safety of others at risk.

While there’s a financial cost to workplace drug abuse; that cost multiplies when innocent co-workers, customers, and others fall victim to drug-impaired workers on the job.

Drug testing has proven to be a powerful deterrent to drug usage and an effective way to eliminate accidents from happening in the first place.

In 1998 a piece of legislation passed called the Tennessee Drug-free Workplace Program.  This legislation is a voluntary program that rewards companies that follow certain drug and alcohol screening guidelines and requirements.  The companies that establish and utilize a certified program are allowed to accrue workers’ compensation premium discounts.  The legislation provides a good foundation for confronting substance abuse problems in the workplace and makes it easy for any company to develop a top quality drug and alcohol screening program.
This act was created to provide a tool for business owners and managers.  This tool can be used to contain the costs associated with hiring and employing abusers of drugs and alcohol.

The effects and costs associated to drug and alcohol abuse are evident –

  • Loss of productivity
  • Increased absenteeism
  • Increased injuries and accidents
  • Increase in workers’ compensation claims and premiums

Also abusers are five times more likely to file a workers’ compensation claim than non-abusers, four times more likely to have an accident on the job, three times more likely to be gone for more than a week at a time, three times more likely to use the company’s health care benefits, and are one-third less productive than non-abusers according to the National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

Statistics show that most companies are exposed to these problems no matter how large or small.  According to the Chicago Association of Commerce and Industry, ignoring this problem in the workplace costs its local employers an estimated $1.5 billion every year.

The Tennessee Drug-free Workplace Program is a step in the right direction.  It provides an incentive for employers to implement a drug-free workplace initiative.  The discounts in the workers’ compensation premiums will usually help offset any expenses added by the drug and alcohol testing program.  Furthermore, containing the costs that are incurred due to employee drug and alcohol abusers far outweighs the costs of drug screens.  Another good quality of this program is that minimum requirements of this law will help businesses build a better drug and alcohol program.  A few of the major requirements of this legislation are as follows:

  • Test for THC, Cocaine, Opiates, Phencyclidine (PCP), Amphetamines/Methamphetamines, (Minimum requirement)
  • Testing job applicants, reasonable suspicion, routine fitness for duty, follow-up, and post-accident
  • Train supervisors 2 hr every year (reasonable suspicion training)
  • Educate employees on drug and alcohol issues 1 hr per year
  • Use a Medical Review Officer for all results
  • Use federal guidelines (49 CFR par 40) for collection procedures
  • Use a split-sample collection process
  • Use an approved laboratory according to the legislation

With the passage of the regulation and the clear financial benefits with its compliance, now is a good time for Tennessee’s industry and business to dust off their drug and alcohol policies for a tune-up.

With the help of WorkCare your company will be certified as Tennessee Drug-Free
Benefits for utilizing WorkCare:

  • Drug Screening with next day negative results from SAMSHA approved laboratory
  • Certified breath alcohol testing (49 CFR part 40)
  • Production or revision to current substance abuse policy to ensure compliance
  • Regular review of program rules and policy updates
  • Annual education for employees/supervisors
  • Completion of certification application
  • Track expiration dates and schedule training annually along with applications
  • 24 Hour service
  • On-site drug screening service within a 45 miles
  • All drug collectors are DATIA certified per federal guidelines (49 CFR part 40)
  • SAMSHA approved laboratory
  • Locate compatible clinic for service outside our service area so that you will have ONE central clinic billing for your drug/alcohol testing and delivering all your results