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Drug-Free Safety Program at a glance
Learn the requirements and deadlines for each level of DFSP

BWC’s Drug-Free Safety Program (DFSP) offers a premium rebate to eligible employers for implementing a loss-prevention strategy addressing workplace use and misuse of alcohol and other drugs, especially illegal drugs.

We designed the DFSP to help employers more effectively prevent on-the-job injuries and illness by integrating drug-free efforts into their overall workplace safety program. The DFSP can help employers achieve both long-range safety and cost-saving benefits.

What are the program’s levels?

Basic level: Employers participating at the DFSP Basic level may be eligible for a 4-percent premium rebate as long as they satisfy all Basic level requirements. See DFSP requirements and deadlines below.

Advanced level: Employers participating at the DFSP Advanced level may be eligible for a 7-percent premium rebate as long as they satisfy all basic and advanced program requirements.

Comparable programs: Employers implementing a program comparable to the DFSP are not eligible for a premium rebate. However, Ohio law requires all companies - in state or out of state - that want to bid or work on state of Ohio public improvement/construction projects to have a drug-free program no matter how many employees they have. This applies to contractors and all levels of subcontractors who provide labor on a state project or supervise workers on state construction sites. Even employers with no employees must have at least a drug-free program in place that meets the DFSP Comparable requirements specified below. For additional information and requirements for comparable drug-free programs see the State construction contractor page.

DFSP requirements, deadlines at a glance

Accident analysis training

Basic and Advanced levels: Employer must provide training for all supervisors and other personnel involved in the accident- analysis process within 30 days of the start of the initial program year. All new supervisors must complete this training within 60 days of becoming a supervisor. Please note that this is a one-time only training requirement, not an annual requirement. Click the following link for information about BWC’s Accident Analysis Online course.

Online accident reporting

Basic and Advanced levels: Employer must submit an Accident Report (DFSP-1) online for all allowed BWC claims within 30 days of an accident or becoming aware of an accident.

Workplace safety review

Basic and Advanced levels: Employer must submit a Safety Management Self-Assessment (SH-26) within 30 days of the start of the program year.

Annual report

Basic and Advanced levels: Employer must submit an Annual Report - Basic and Advanced Levels (DFSP-3) about its DFSP by the last business day in September for public employers or the last business day in March for private employers.

Comparable programs: Employer must submit an Annual Report - Comparable Program Only (DFSP-4) about its drug-free program by the last business day in September for public employers or the last business day in March for private employers.

Safety action plan

Basic level: This is optional for employers in DFSP Basic.

Advanced level: Employer in DFSP Advanced must submit a Safety Action Plan (DFSP-5) within 60 days of the start of each program year.

Written policy

Basic and Advanced levels: Employer must provide a written policy outlining the details of their drug-free program within 90 days of the start of the initial program year.

The written DFSP policy describes every program element. As such, it provides the operational rules of the program; a full and fair disclosure of prohibited conduct and consequences for violating the policy; and describes the various pieces that make up the entire DFSP.

The written policy should describe safety requirements; annual employee education and supervisor training; alcohol and other drug testing; and employee assistance, which along with the written DFSP policy, comprise the key integrated elements of any effective DFSP program. You can have your policy reviewed by legal counsel - a cost savings over paying an employment law attorney to design the policy. A good policy then must be followed by operational procedures that flesh out the policy and tell employees and supervisors how your program will operate.

Employee education

Basic and Advanced levels: Employer must provide employees with one hour of initial training and one-hour refresher training annually.

DFSP education incorporates awareness of the dangers of substance use in the workplace. Participating employers must arrange for each employee and supervisor to receive at least one hour initially within the first four months of the initial program year, with a one hour refresher annually thereafter. You can contract with substance professionals to do these sessions or, through sending a manager through a train-the-trainer course for employee education, you can do it yourself. The key is still to provide information on substance problems in the workplace to ALL employees and to not offer the same information year after year.

While a qualified/credentialed substance professional may present the educational material, it's also possible for the employer to obtain these materials from a qualified source and have a manager who is a skilled trainer present the information. However, questions raised by employees that this manager is not able to answer must go to a qualified substance professional for a response so that employees get a timely answer, typically within two business days. Although a credentialed person does not have to present the information to your employees, it's important to use a qualified, credentialed person or anyone else who has experience in the substance education field to prepare the training content and act as a resource for you. A DFSP start-up grant may be available to help offset this expense for the first two years of program operation.

Supervisor training

Basic and Advanced levels: Employer must provide supervisors with two hours of initial training within four months of initial enrollment and one-hour refresher training annually.

Skill-building training for all supervisors is a minimum of two hours initially and one hour annually as a refresher for supervisors who already have received the initial two hours. New supervisors should receive the initial training within eight weeks of becoming a supervisor, and these supervisors would then get the one hour refresher in subsequent years. You must use a trainer that is credentialed or qualified by experience in substance training for supervisors, so your supervisors can meet their responsibilities for supporting your program while buffering your legal liability. In Ohio, employers are liable for the actions of their supervisors AND the supervisors are individually liable for their actions. Consider additional training as needed in your workplace.

Required supervisor skill-building training content includes:

  • Behavioral observation aimed at detecting when an employee may be in violation of the employer's DFSP policy and require an intervention before there is an incident/accident/injury;
  • Documentation of the behavior that suggests reasonable suspicion and justifies an intervention;
  • Appropriate and professional confrontation of the behavior that suggests a possible violation of the employer's DFSP policy before there is an incident/accident/injury;
  • How to make referrals for testing;
  • How to make referrals for assistance including a substance assessment.

The above content is IN ADDITION TO accident-analysis training.

Drug/alcohol testing

Basic level: Employer must provide pre-employment/new hire, reasonable suspicion, post-accident, return-to-duty and follow-up testing.

Advanced level: Employer must provide the same requirements for Basic level plus 15-percent random testing.

Employers will need to do:

  • 100-percent, pre-employment drug testing (or new-hire testing or a combination of the two) for private employers and 100-percent of safety-sensitive or special needs positions for public employers;
  • Reasonable suspicion alcohol and/or other drug testing as appropriate;
  • Post-accident alcohol and/or other drug testing of anyone who may have caused or contributed to an accident following an accident investigation for private employers and, with documentation of reasonable suspicion following an accident investigation, for public employers;
  • Return-to-duty alcohol and/or other drug testing for employees who are given a second chance after a positive test;
  • Follow-up alcohol and/or other drug testing for employees who are allowed to retain employment following a positive test and who return to duty;
  • Use of a certified laboratory, collection site and a certified Medical Review Officer (MRO);
  • Report testing information as required on the DFSP Annual Report and provide a copy of an invoice from the employer's collection site for testing services;
  • For Advanced-level employers only, random drug testing of 15-percent of the total average annual work force for private employers or 15-percent of the total average annual safety-sensitive positions for public employers.

You do not have to conduct a post-accident test if all of the following circumstances exist:

  • The accident resulted in a minor injury, even when off-site medical attention was required;
  • There was no violation of work rules;
  • An accident investigation determined there was no reasonable suspicion related to the accident;
  • The accident is considered normal in relationship to the job functions of the injured employee.

Testing focuses on who may have caused or contributed to a work-related accident where there is an injury requiring off-site medical attention, a fatality or damage to company property or vehicles in apparent excess of amounts the employer specifies in its written DFSP policy. An accident investigation is the key to determine whom to test and when alcohol testing is appropriate along with a possible drug test. The testing system used for DFSP is called systems presence testing. This form of testing for specified drugs and alcohol has the support of organized labor and is considered the fairest and most reliable testing system in existence. It has withstood court challenges nationally and retained its basic structure based on reliability and accuracy in determining the presence of metabolites in an employee's system that reflect use of drugs or in breath/blood that reflect use of alcohol. BWC's approach to alcohol and other drug testing follows the federal testing model that is considered the gold standard in testing with substantial built-in protections for employees through acknowledged accuracy and reliability, and the involvement of a certified medical review officer who reviews all testing results.

Employee assistance

We recommend the highest degree of assistance available for employees and, at the Basic level, a commitment to the health and well-being of employees, including compiling and sharing a list of local assistance resources for employees with substance problems and their families. In addition, we require employers participating in the Advanced level to also pre-establish a working relationship with an employee assistance professional to whom they can refer an employee with a substance problem for an assessment and pay for the cost of the assessment.