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New anti-drug initiative could reduce your WC premiums

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A new drug-abuse prevention program promises significant savings on workers’ compensation premiums for Ohio employers that agree to participate in it. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation’s Drug-Free Safety Program (DFSP) allows Ohio employers to opt into the program—which requires drug and alcohol education, testing and accident reporting—in exchange for discounts on workers’ comp insurance.

The DFSP began on July 1. It replaced the bureau’s old Drug-Free Workplace Program. Employers that formerly participated in the old program must submit a new application for the DFSP.

All firms bidding on state contracts must participate in the DFSP.

Employers may choose from two DFSP compliance levels: basic or advanced.

Those that adopt the basic framework must submit to a Bureau of Workers’ Compensation safety review. They must develop a written DFSP drug and alcohol testing policy, commit to timely accident reporting and provide accident-analysis training to supervisors. Employers must conduct annual employee and supervisor safety training and develop a list of community-based substance-abuse resources and providers.

Basic DFSP participants receive a 4% discount on their workers’ compensation premiums.

The advanced DFSP level offers participating employers a 7% workers’ compensation discount.

The advanced program contains all the basic elements, but employers must also develop a safety plan based on the completed safety review. If an employee at an advanced-DFSP employer tests positive for drugs or alcohol and the company plans to offer the employee a second chance, the company must pay for a substance-abuse assessment of the employee. Generally, the advanced program limits employers’ ability to fire employees based on a single positive drug test.

Advice: Consult your attorney to determine which option is the best fit for your company.

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