VanAntwerp Attorneys, LLP
Phone: 606-618-0698

Requirements and rewards of KY drug-free program participation

Substance abuse is an issue that is top of mind on a national scale. Whether it involves alcohol or drugs, the implications are undeniable. The consequences of abuse are felt not only in the privacy of homes, but also in the workplace. According to federal figures, 70 percent of the estimated 15 million illegal drug users in the U.S. are on the job.

That increases the risk of workplace injury for the abuser, of course, but it also poses a threat to every employee with whom that person works. Employers pay the cost of that increased risk in various ways, including higher absentee rates, reduced employee morale and productivity, and increased workers' compensation insurance premiums.

Mitigating the risk

For all those reasons, Kentucky is one of many states with programs to promote worker safety by allowing employers to gain drug-free workplace certification for their companies. The argument for such programs is that they not only enhance worker safety but demonstrate employer social responsibility. Additionally, there is financial benefit in that the Kentucky law requires workers' compensation insurers to provide certificate holders a 5 percent discount on premiums.

Certification requirements

A drug-free workplace designation does not come without its own price. Because of compliance requirements, working with attorneys experienced in this area of law is always advisable. For example, to gain certification employers must have a policy, in writing, that includes:

  • An employee assistance program.
  • Education and training of employees on an annual basis.
  • Testing regimens that comply with state and federal laws.
  • Record confidentiality guarantees.

It is also important to note that application for the certification is predicated on proper communication of the details of the above elements to all workers and the posting of a statement about the program in the workplace.

Drug and alcohol abuse preventive measures can be useful as part of broad employer policies. But what is clear that pursuit of such strategies and achieving optimal results also demand attention to legal details.

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