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Intoxication and workers' comp: What every employer should know

July 25, 2018
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Keeping the workplace as safe as possible should be a top priority for all employers. But accidents can happen even when you’ve taken steps to prevent them. When employees don’t follow safety procedures, injuries on the job are more likely to occur, but even more so when intoxicating substances are involved. Here, we share what every employer should know about workers’ comp and intoxication.

The injured worker will still receive benefits

The state of Colorado doesn’t deny workers’ comp benefits to injured employees, and this includes workers who were under the influence during work hours. But if the injury was caused by the employee’s intoxication, he or she may be penalized with reduced benefits. If you have reason to believe that your employee was injured due to intoxication or use of a controlled substance, you’ll need to submit proof of the individual’s failure to follow workplace procedures.

You have the right to request blood alcohol testing

While it’s uncomfortable for everyone when intoxication in the workplace is suspected, employers have the right to ask for a blood alcohol test. Keep in mind that you should only request additional testing if you’ve noticed the glaring signs of intoxication: slurred speech, staggering or a sighting of drug or alcohol use at the worksite.

Post workplace rules in an easily visible location

In the best working environments, each team member knows what’s expected of them. It’s good policy to post workplace rules in a prominent place. When everyone’s on the same page and there’s a written record of clear expectations, it’s easier to avoid mishaps. For best results, try implementing a training program for each new hire, and hold workshops occasionally to refresh seasoned veterans. Offering an Employee Assistance Program can head off a variety of emotional and health-related problems that can lead to substance abuse.

The use of drugs and alcohol can play a major role in causing work-related injuries. While intoxication on the job is relatively rare, it’s a must to ensure that everyone involved is covered. When you’re ready to choose an insurance provider, our team at Pinnacol is here to help. We work with 57,000 employers in our home state, and our agents are happy to walk you through the process of selecting the ideal policy. To get a quote, visit us at or reach out to an agent.

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