Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Marijuana Use in the Workplace

With more states passing legislation with respect to marijuana use, is it time to update your drug-free workplace policy? The short answer is no. Every employer has the right to deem impairment from any source unacceptable in their workplace. This includes impairment from illegal substances, alcohol, cold, and allergy medication, and, yes, marijuana.  
How do you test impairment?
While there are multiple ways to test impairment level where alcohol is concerned, there currently are not trusted methods to measure the level of impairment where marijuana is concerned. There are reliable methods to test if marijuana is in one’s system, but the drug can remain in one’s system for up to a week after initial use. The argument could be made that the positive results from Tuesday’s reasonable-suspicion drug test was really only showing that the individual used marijuana within the last week. Until better tests are available, this is best addressed by documenting why the supervisor feels the employee is impaired and what risk they pose to themselves and/or other employees.
What am I to do as an employer?
Review your state’s laws on discrimination against marijuana users. Make sure your policies are consistent with state anti-discrimination statutes.
  • Continue to comply with federal regulations.
  • Review your drug use and drug testing policies to ensure that they clearly explain your expectations regarding impairment, marijuana use outside of company time, and drug testing.
  • Make sure you are prepared to consistently follow your written procedures.
  • As part of an employer's review, have it clearly written whether all employee drug use is banned or merely impairment.
  • Have a policy on medical marijuana use. Cannabis with THC will impair judgment, while medical marijuana typically only has CBD products that do not typically impair brain function. One would still test positive for marijuana use in both cases, but would only be impaired if THC were in the cannabis used. 
In summary, know what state(s) you are working in and what laws apply there. Define what constitutes impairment. Work with your drug testing facilities to understand what the results mean and what levels of marijuana are in ones system if a positive test is found.
NOTICE: This guide may make reference to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations; however the guide is not legal advice as to compliance with OSHA or other safety laws, codes, or regulations. Compliance with OSHA and other safety laws codes or regulations, and maintaining a safe work environment for your employees remains your responsibility. WCF Insurance does not undertake to perform the duty of any person to provide for the health or safety of your employees. WCF Insurance does not warrant that your workplace is safe or healthful, or that it complies with any laws, regulations, codes, or standards.

Need help with an employee manual? Please give us a call at 435-674-2221.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Wild Fire Awareness - Property Owners Beware!

With the heavier than normal snow pack and wet spring this year. We are almost
guaranteed to have a lot of tall dry grass close to structures.

We are already hearing from many cities throughout Utah that fireworks are banned this year.

Here are 10 Safety tips from the National Fire Prevention Association

  • REMOVE leaves, pine needles, and other flammable material from the roof, gutters, and on and under the deck to help prevent embers from igniting your home.
  • SCREEN areas below decks and porches with 1/8” wire mesh to help prevent material from accumulating underneath.
  • COVER exterior attic and soffit vents with 1/8” wire mesh to help prevent sparks from entering your home.
  • ENCLOSE eaves to help prevent ember entry.
  • INSPECT shingles or roof tiles. REPLACE missing shingles or tiles. COVER ends of tiles with bird stops or cement to help prevent ember penetration during a wildfire.
  • REMOVE dead vegetation and other flammable materials, especially within the first 5 feet of the home.
  • KEEP your lawn hydrated and maintained. If it is brown, cut it down to help reduce fire intensity.
  • PRUNE tree limbs so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet above the ground to help reduce the chance of fire getting into the crowns of the trees.
  • MOVE construction material, trash, and woodpiles at least 30 feet away from the home and other outbuildings.
  • DISPOSE of branches, weeds, leaves, pine needles, and grass clippings that you have cut to reduce fuel for fire.

Friday, February 1, 2019

10 Reasons to Implement a Drug-Free Workplace Policy

To protect your business and employees, consider the following 10 reasons to establish a drug-free workplace policy.


To create a drug-free policy at work, a business has many options. All policies should be in writing and effectively communicated to all employees. It can be as simple as adding a drug-free provision to an employee handbook stating:

“Employees are prohibited from unlawfully consuming, distributing, possessing, selling, or using controlled substances while on duty. In addition, employees may not be under the influence of any controlled substance, such as drugs or alcohol, while at work, on company premises, or engaged in company business. Prescription or over-the-counter medications, taken as prescribed, are an exception to this policy. Anyone violating this policy may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.”


One in six workplace deaths, and one in four workplace injuries, involves drugs or alcohol use. By implementing and communicating clear rules and consequences of using drugs or alcohol during work, drug use as well as the number of work-related accidents and injuries should significantly decrease.


Employees who frequently use drugs or alcohol tend to miss work or run late more often than non-users. Additionally, those who use drugs are twice as likely to change employers three or more times in a year than non-users. Help curb these behaviors by instituting a drug-free workplace policy and holding workers accountable.


By implementing a drug-free workplace program, you show a commitment to having a safe, healthy work environment.


The National Institute of Drug Abuse found that substance users cost employers twice as much in workers’ compensation and medical expenses as non-users. Additionally, substance abusers are five times more likely to file workers’ compensation claims. By reducing drug use among employees, you can reap safety benefits and workplace savings.


To encourage businesses to implement drug-free workplace programs, some states, such as Florida, Georgia, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, have passed laws that enable businesses to receive workers’ compensation insurance premium credits of as much as 10 percent if they employ a drug-free workplace program.


A drug-free workplace program should contain an educational component that informs employees on the health and safety risks drug use imposes on all employees. You should also point out to employees the costs drug use has on your company’s bottom line, productivity, and increased healthcare costs.


A drug-free workplace program shows employees that you care about their health and safety. By providing helpful resources, such as confidential hotline numbers or names of treatment centers to assist employees who have substance abuse problems, you illustrate your commitment to seeing your employees get help and improve their quality of life.


Benefits from implementing a drug-free workplace program include lower absenteeism, increased productivity, reduced workers’ compensation filings, and fewer accidents. More discrete savings include improved employee morale, creativity and emotional stability. As a result of these savings and cost reductions, the net profit of your business improves.


If your business wants to contract with the government, you must have a drug-free policy in place. Under the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1998, most companies seeking contracts with the government must maintain a drug-free workplace. Additionally, the Department of Transportation requires companies operating any commercial vehicle in interstate commerce to have a drug-free workplace policy.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019



As we start 2019, it’s a great time to review how to make your workplace safer. Your organization can start by focusing on systems and processes that have the greatest potential to cause injury as well as the most common injury types. Below are the injury types reported most frequently to Workers Compensation Fund of Utah in 2018.

Slips and Falls 20%
Cuts 19%
Hit By/Against 17%
Misc 14%
Strains and Sprains 13%
Strain by Lifting 7%
Caught in Object 5%
Motor Vehicle 3%
Burns 2%