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Georgia’s Drug-Free Workplace Program

The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation provides employers who are certified as a drug-free workplace under the Georgia Drug-Free Workplace Program with a 7.5% discount off  workers’ compensation premiums. To participate in the program and receive the discount, employers must apply for certification (and re-certification annually), pay the $35 certification fee, and comply with the following requirements:

  • Provide advanced notice of substance abuse testing to all employees and job applicants;
  • Create and distribute a written policy statement, which includes the following information:
    1. A general policy statement regarding substance abuse, which identifies the type of  testing employees and job applicants may undergo (e.g. reasonable suspicion testing and random testing) and the actions the employer might take based on a positive confirmed test result;
    2. A statement advising employees and job applicants of the Drug-Free Workplace Program;
    3. A general statement concerning confidentiality;
    4. The consequences of refusing to submit to drug testing;
    5. A statement advising employees of either the Employee Assistance Program or the employer’s resource file of assistance programs;
    6. A statement that any employee or job applicant who receives a positive confirmed test result may contest or explain the result to the employer within five business days after receiving written notification of the result; and
    7. A statement informing employees of the provisions of the federal Drug-Free Workplace Act or the Drug-free Public Work Force Act of 1990, if applicable to the employer;
  • Provide notice of substance abuse testing:
    1. On vacancy announcements for the positions in which substance abuse testing is required;
    2. In an appropriate and conspicuous location on the employer’s premises; and
    3. In the employer’s personnel office or any other suitable location where employees or job applicants may inspect copies of the policy;
  • Require the following types of substance abuse testing, which can be conducted by a laboratory, at the employer’s worksite using on-site testing kits, or through oral testing[1]:
    1. Post-offer testing (i.e. substance abuse testing for job applicants after receiving a conditional offer of employment)
    2. Reasonable suspicion testing;
    3. Substance abuse testing conducted as part of a routine fitness-for-duty medical examination in compliance with an established policy or that is required for all members of a specific employment classification;
    4. Follow-up testing after an employee completes an Employee Assistance Program or rehabilitation program as the result of a positive test unless the employee voluntarily entered the program; and
    5. Substance abuse testing after an employee has caused or contributed to an on-the-job injury, which resulted in a loss of work time;
  • Conduct random substance abuse testing at the employer’s discretion;
  • Allow employees and job applicants the opportunity to identify currently or recently used prescription and/or nonprescription medication or other relevant medical information, which may affect the results of the substance abuse test;
  • Inform employees of the benefits, services, and policies and procedures regarding access to and utilization of the Employee Assistance Program, if the employer has one;
    1. Alternatively, employers may maintain a resource file of providers, entities, and other assistance programs with certain restrictions.
  • Provide all employees with a semiannual education program on substance abuse and its effects on the workplace;[2]
  • Provide all supervisory personnel with supervisor training[3]; and
  • Maintain confidentiality of all information, interviews, reports, statements, memoranda, and test results (written or otherwise) received in connection with a substance abuse testing program.

What Does This Mean For Employers?

Those who wish to receive a 7.5% discount off  workers’ compensation premiums must comply with the Drug-Free Workplace Program and certification requirements annually. Employers apply for certification via mail or online at http://www.sbwcdfwp.org/home.php.

[1] The Drug-Free Workplace Program also details how and by whom specimen used for substance abuse testing must be collected. See, O.C.G.A. § 34-9-415.

[2] See, O.C.G.A. § 34-9-417 for more detailed information regarding the employee education requirements.

[3] See, O.C.G.A. § 34-9-418 for more detailed information regarding the supervisory training requirements.

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