Protect your business – and your employees – by becoming a Tennessee Drug-Free Workplace

Almost 25% of American workers between the ages of 18 and 35 have illegally used drugs. Furthermore, a survey of Middle Tennessee residents showed that 55% of people are concerned about someone they know with an alcohol or drug problem.

Substance abuse costs American businesses $100 billion every year. These costs come from increased worker’s comp claims, increased medical costs, absenteeism, presenteeism (a lack of productivity while at work) and employee turnover.

To avoid the costs associated with substance abuse in your employees, consider completing the Tennessee Drug-Free Workplace Program. This program, offered by the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, is a great way to minimize the risks and liability of substance abuse for your business, and offers the following benefits:

  • A 5% premium credit on your workers’ compensation insurance
  • If an employee making a workers’ comp claim fails a post-accident test for the illegal use of drugs or alcohol, the employee can be denied workers’ comp benefits and will need to prove the accident was not caused by drugs or alcohol.
  • Firing or disciplining an employee for a violation of the Drug-Free Workplace Program will be considered “for cause”.

The rules of the program are:

  1. To establish reasonable work rules related to employee substance abuse, including prior convictions. To create these rules, ask the following questions:
    1. Who will be tested?
    2. When will tests be given?
    3. Who will conduct the testing?
    4. What substances are tested for?
    5. What will the consequences of a failed drug test be for employees?
  2. To pay for all substance abuse testing of employees, or potential employees, to find violations of these rules.
  3. To use a federally-approved lab or provider for all substance abuse testing. You can find a list of these providers at SAMHSA Certified Lab List.
  4. To only test for abuse of substances outlined in federal guidelines unless employees give written consent prior to the test.
  5. To report the results of failed tests as necessary, particularly if the employee is a healthcare practitioner.
  6. To post your substance abuse policy on company letterhead for all employees to see and distribute printed copies to everyone. A sample policy can be found here: Sample Substance Abuse Policy.
  7. To provide at least one hour of training for all employees within 60 days of implementing your substance abuse policy, of 60 days of their date of hire. Guidelines for the type of training required can be found here: Training Required for Certification.

Read the rules in full here.

Implementing a Tennessee Drug-Free Workplace Program begins with filling out an application. To learn more about what implementing the program will look like, download this implementation guide from the Tennessee Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

A substance abuse-free workplace is a safer workplace. Protect your employees, and your bottom line, from the physical and financial costs of substance abuse in your business.

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