Post-Accident Drug Testing: Part 5 — Connecticut

If we assume that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) commentary that mandatory post-accident drug testing will deter the reporting of workplace safety incidents, it will make it difficult for the employer/respondent to document and collect evidence to properly investigate the claim. In Connecticut, if a claimant’s intoxication, whether by alcohol or legal/illegal drugs, is a substantial contributing factor in causing a work place accident, then the accident is not compensable. See C.G.S. § 31-275(1)(C). The respondent is required to prove that the claimant’s intoxication was a substantial contributing factor in bringing about the work place accident for the accident to be not compensable. Maurice v. Healthrax International, Inc., 5934 CRB-6-14-5 (March 24, 2015) and Paternostro v. Arborio Corp., 3659 CRB-6-97-8 (September 8, 1998), aff’d, 56 Conn. App. 215, 220 (1999), cert. denied, 252 Conn. 928 (2000).

When a workplace safety incident is not reported or not reported in a timely manner, it makes it more difficult, if not impossible, for the employer/respondent to identify witnesses, save video surveillance, take statements while the events are fresh in the witnesses’/participants’ minds, conducting examination of machines, and the like. Accordingly, the ability to document and collect evidence to properly investigate the claim will likely outweigh the interests of the employer/respondent in conducting post-accident drug testing in absence of any evidence of intoxication.

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