Grappling with the maze of marijuana laws and your company policy? On this episode, Bill Judge of Drug Screening Compliance Institute talks about considerations for employers to create and enforce drug-testing policies that are consistent with the laws in all of the states in which they operate – as well as best practices for addressing safety-sensitive roles. Guest: William J. Judge, JD, LL.M. Drug Screening Compliance Institute bjudge@drugscreeningci.com www.askbilljudge.com Resources: At the federal level, marijuana is listed as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Many federal contractors and all federal grantees are required by law to establish and maintain a drug-free workplace policy. In addition, some federal agencies have rules in place for specific industries/occupations that require employers to have drug testing programs. For example, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have adopted drug testing rules for certain drivers. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides guidance to employers on how to implement drug-free workplaces that will comply with federal laws. States are continuing to legalize marijuana, either for medical use, recreational use, or both. Here are maps of where things currently stand in September 2022. State laws may dictate how (and to what extent) employers can do pre-employment screenings, drug testing, or make employment decisions based on an employee’s drug use. Many employers choose to drug test employees because of safety-sensitive positions, reductions in rates for workers’ compensation insurance, or to ensure that their employees are not impaired on the job. It is particularly important that construction companies review current policies and evaluate the need for changes – based on evolving marijuana laws and to ensure employee safety and reduce company risk.
The Associated General Contractors of America is launching a new effort to combat high suicide rates and improve mental health among the industry’s workers, the trade group announced today. The new effort, which the association is launching as part of its support for suicide prevention month, is designed to address the high rate of suicide among construction workers.
The Associated General Contractors of America is launching a new effort to combat high suicide rates and improve mental health among the industry’s workers, the trade group announced today. The new effort, which the association is launching as part of its support for suicide prevention month, is designed to address the high rate of suicide among construction workers.
On April 8, the Department of Labor (DOL) / Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the first-ever national emphasis program (NEP) on heat-related hazards in the workplace would go into effect immediately. The NEP set a goal for the agency to double the number of workplace inspections related to heat. The NEP identifies the general duty clause, Section (5)(a)(1) of the OSH Act, as the mechanism to cite employers for heat-related hazards if all criteria to support such a citation are met. Those criteria are as follows:
On June 30, AGC along with more than 60 organizations took issue with OSHA’s proposed rule to expand the scope and revise the provisions of its “Improved Tracking of Workplace Injury and Illness” regulation. If finalized as proposed, the rule will require construction firms with 100 or more employees to electronically submit their OSHA Form 300 (log of work-related injuries and illnesses), OSHA Form 300A (summary of work-related injuries and illnesses), and OSHA Form 301 (injury and illness incident report) on an annual basis. For construction firms with 20 – 100 employees, the rule will require the annual submission of their OSHA Form 300A (summary of work-related injuries and illnesses).
On June 8, AGC sought clarification from OSHA on its enforcement of heat-related hazards under its National Emphasis Program (NEP). Due to the absence of specific guidance clarifying how compliance safety and health officers (CSHOs) will evaluate a contractor’s implementation of protocols to address heat exposure, fair and consistent enforcement will be significantly impacted across all regions. In addition, the NEP’s ambiguities may ultimately put workers at further risk of injury or illness.
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On January 26, AGC of America, along with its Construction Industry Safety Coalition Partners, responded to OSHA on its first regulatory step towards establishing a federal heat standard for indoor and outdoor work, a rule with the potential to have far-reaching impacts on the construction industry. While the proposal issued by OSHA lacked actual, draft regulatory language, and was presented in a series of questions, AGC’s responses took the opportunity to highlight proactive efforts the industry has taken, confusion surrounding existing state standards, and the impracticality of an 80-degree trigger threshold for such a standard from the perspective of the wide array of climates nationwide. AGC will continue to engage with members to better inform the agency as they proceed, which is most likely the case for this initiative.