Since property damage or personal injury may result from accidents, testing following an accident can help determine whether drugs and/or alcohol were a factor. It is important to establish objective criteria that will trigger a post-accident test and how and by whom they will be determined and documented.
Examples of criteria used by employers include; injuries that require anyone to be removed from the scene for medical care; damage to vehicles or property above a specified monetary amount; and infringements issued by the police. Although the results of a post-accident test determine alcohol/drug use, a positive test result in, and of itself cannot prove that drug use caused an accident. When post-accident testing is conducted, it is a good idea for employers not to allow employees involved in any accident to return to work prior to or following the testing. Employers also need to have guidelines to specify how soon following an accident, testing must occur, so results are relevant. Substances remain in a person’s system for various amounts of time, and it is usually recommended that post-accident testing be done within 12 hours. Some employers expand the test trigger to incidents even if an accident or injury was averted and hence use term “post-incident.