Post-Accident Positive Drug Test Results Increase Among American Workers


Scientific experts at Quest Diagnostics have analyzed and published annual workplace drug testing data and insights since 1988 in the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI). When drug testing programs were started by employers in the 1980s, evidence of drug use in the workplace began to decline. Employers saw how substance-free workplace programs deterred employee substance abuse and discouraged job applicants who use drugs from applying for positions at their companies. These declines were also seen in post-accident drug testing scenarios.


It has been several years since the Drug Testing Index reported on trends for a specific reason for testing. In the latest release, Quest Diagnostics, one of the country’s largest drug testing laboratories, noted that over the past five years, there have been slight increases in post-accident drug test results that have led to dramatic changes. When reviewed together, the data shows a significant increase in positive post-accident drug tests for both the federally-mandated, safety-sensitive and non-regulated workforces.

According to the data, post-accident drug testing:

  • Increased 6.2% in 2015 in the non-regulated workforces compared to 2014 and has increased 30% since 2011
  • Rose 22% between 2011-2015 for regulated safety-sensitive workforce employees


Year-over-year, positive drug tests for post-accident situations was trending downward in the 2000s. However, consecutive increases in the last five years should give employers something to think about considering the potential impact of drug use and its threat to workplace safety.

Post-incident testing, also known as post-accident drug testing is performed after an employee has been involved in a workplace accident and is used as an aid to assess if drugs and/or alcohol were a factor in the incident. Post-accident testing is an important tool for companies, especially those focused on workplace health and safety.


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