Injury, Drug Testing and Your Workers’ Comp Benefits

In yet another addition to our extensive knowledge center repository, we explore the topic of drug testing and workers’ compensation in Colorado.

Illicit drug use is certainly a negative behavior any time but sometimes, it can also contribute to accidents at work. And while alcohol is technically legal, it too can have impacts on reaction time and lead to disastrous injuries.

In Colorado, there are no limits or requirements for drug testing in the workplace. With the exception of unemployment and workers’ compensation purposes, employers are not required to have a written drug policy.

While other states require a drug test outright following an injury, Colorado does not.

However, that doesn’t mean you won’t get tested!!

Under Colorado workers’ compensation laws, an employer can require a post-accident drug screening for any circumstance, provided they have a written drug policy. If this policy is in place, your employer does NOT have to suspect drug or alcohol use to require a drug test.

If they do make you take a drug test, the employer must pay all expenses and the test completed in a facility certified by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

If results come back “positive” following a drug test, you won’t necessarily lose all of your workers’ comp benefits. All medical expenses will be paid but if your employer claims “presumption of intoxication,” you may lose 50% of your non-medical benefits. In order to establish this presumption, your employer will need to prove your exam took place in a certified facility and that 2 samples were taken.

If the second sample comes back negative, the burden falls back on your employer. They can still re-establish “presumption of intoxication” but you also have the right to request a re-test at this point (…at your expense).

Even though many employers try to deny non-medical benefits by claiming intoxication caused the injury, rarely do they succeed. The only case where this is successful is for driving under the influence. Many cases though involve marijuana. Considering its near legal status in the state though, it’s rarely a cause for losing workers’ comp benefits.

Check out our new article – Injury, Drug Testing and Your Workers’ Comp Benefits – for more information on establishing presumption, drug testing and workers’ compensation in Colorado.