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OhioBWC - Employer:  (Drug-Free Safety Program information)

Drug-Free Safety Program (DFSP) information

BWC’s Drug-Free Safety Program (DFSP) offers a premium rebate to eligible employers for implementing a loss-prevention strategy addressing workplace use and misuse of alcohol and other drugs, especially illegal drugs.

We designed the DFSP to help employers more effectively prevent on-the-job injuries and illness by integrating drug-free efforts into their overall workplace safety program. The DFSP can help employers achieve both long-range safety and cost-saving benefits.

July 1 to June 30 program year

  • Open to private employers only
  • Applications due to BWC by last business day of May

Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 program year

  • Open to public employers
  • Applications due to BWC by last business day of November

If you’d like to participate in the DFSP, please complete the Application for Drug-Free Safety Program (U-140). Be sure to indicate on the application whether you want to participate at the program's Basic or Advanced level. In addition to completing the application, you must submit the Safety Management Self-Assessment (SH-26). If your company has not submitted the SH-26 within the last 12 months for either the DFSP Basic or Advanced levels, or another program, we will redirect you to the SH-26 at the time of application. For more details about the DFSP, click the links below.

Who is eligible for the DFSP?
Only state-fund employers may receive a rebate. This includes private employers and public employer taxing districts. State agencies may not participate in the DFSP. Employers whose applications are not accepted by BWC may reapply in a subsequent program year. Program applicants must:

  • Be current at the time of application review and throughout the policy year. This means the employer is not more than 45 days past due on any and all premiums, assessments, penalties or monies otherwise due to any fund administered by BWC, including amounts due for retrospective rating.
  • Not have cumulative lapses in workers’ compensation coverage in excess of 40 days within the 12 months preceding the original application deadline or subsequent anniversary deadline wherein the employer seeks renewal for the DFSP.
  • Be in good standing at the time of application review.
  • Continue to meet all eligibility requirements during participation in the program, when applying for renewal, and during each subsequent year of participation in the program.
Self-insuring employers and state agencies are not eligible for program rebates but may receive technical assistance from BWC to establish a drug-free workplace. Although ineligible for premium rebates, self-insuring construction employers may apply to be included in the state construction contractor database. Note: Ohio workers’ compensation coverage is required to be included in the state construction contractor database regardless of whether an employer is otherwise not required to hold Ohio coverage.

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What are the program's levels?

Basic level – Employers participating at the DFSP Basic level are eligible for a 4-percent premium rebate as long as they satisfy all Basic level requirements. See DFSP requirements below.

Advanced level – Employers participating at the DFSP Advanced level are eligible for a 7-percent premium rebate as long as they satisfy all basic program requirements.

Comparable programs – Employers implementing a program comparable to the DFSP are not eligible for a premium rebate. However, Ohio law requires all companies – in state or out of state – that want to bid or work on state of Ohio public improvement/construction projects to have a drug-free program no matter how many employees they have. This applies to contractors and all levels of subcontractors who provide labor on a state project or supervise workers on state construction sites. Even employers with no employees must have at least a drug-free program in place that meets the DFSP Comparable requirements specified below. For additional information and requirements for comparable drug-free programs, click here.

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DFSP requirements, deadlines at a glance
Accident-analysis training Basic and Advanced levels: Employer must provide training for all supervisors and other personnel involved in the accident- analysis process within 30 days of the start of the initial program year. All new supervisors must complete this training within 60 days of becoming a supervisor. Please note that this is a one-time only training requirement, not an annual requirement. Click the following link for information about BWC’s Accident Analysis Online course.
Online accident reporting Basic and Advanced levels: Employer must submit an Accident Report (DFSP-1) online for all allowed BWC claims within 30 days of an accident or becoming aware of an accident.
Workplace safety review Basic and Advanced levels: Employer must submit a Safety Management Self-Assessment (SH-26) within 30 days of the start of the program year.
Annual report Basic and Advanced levels: Employer must submit an Annual Report – Basic and Advanced Levels (DFSP-3) about its DFSP by the last business day in September for the January program year or the last business day in March for the July program year.
Comparable programs: Employer must submit an Annual Report - Comparable Program Only (DFSP-4) about its drug-free program by the last business day in September for the January program year or the last business day in March for the July program year.
Safety action plan Basic level: This is optional for employers in DFSP Basic.
Advanced level: Employer in DFSP Advanced must submit a Safety Action Plan (DFSP-5) within 60 days of the start of each program year.
Written policy Basic and Advanced levels: Employer must provide a written policy outlining the details of their drug-free program within 90 days of the start of the initial program year. See more
Employee education Basic and Advanced levels: Employer must provide employees with one hour of initial training and one-hour refresher training annually. See more
Supervisor training Basic and Advanced levels: Employer must provide supervisors with two hours of initial training within four months of initial enrollment and one-hour refresher training annually. See more
Drug/alcohol testing Basic level: Employer must provide pre-employment/new hire, reasonable suspicion, post-accident, return-to-duty and follow-up testing.
Advanced level: Employer must provide the same requirements for Basic level plus 15-percent random testing. See more
Employee assistance For details on providing employee assistance for DFSP Basic and Advanced, click the following link. See more

Is the DFSP compatible with other BWC discount programs?
Employers participating in the DFSP may participate in more than one program; however, only certain programs may be combined in the rebate calculation. These specifications are detailed in this program compatibility chart.

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Written policy
The written DFSP policy describes every program element. As such, it provides the operational rules of the program; a full and fair disclosure of prohibited conduct and consequences for violating the policy; and describes the various pieces that make up the entire DFSP.

The written policy should describe safety requirements; annual employee education and supervisor training; alcohol and other drug testing; and employee assistance, which along with the written DFSP policy, comprise the key integrated elements of any effective DFSP program. You can have your policy reviewed by legal counsel – a cost savings over paying an employment law attorney to design the policy. A good policy then must be followed by operational procedures that flesh out the policy and tell employees and supervisors how your program will operate.

Back to program requirements, deadlines at a glance

Employee education
DFSP education incorporates awareness of the dangers of substance use in the workplace. Participating employers must arrange for each employee and supervisor to receive at least one hour initially within the first four months of the initial program year, with a one hour refresher annually thereafter. You can contract with substance professionals to do these sessions or, through sending a manager through a train–the-trainer course for employee education, you can do it yourself. The key is still to provide information on substance problems in the workplace to ALL employees and to not offer the same information year after year.

While a qualified/credentialed substance professional may present the educational material, it's also possible for the employer to obtain these materials from a qualified source and have a manager who is a skilled trainer present the information. However, questions raised by employees that this manager is not able to answer must go to a qualified substance professional for a response so that employees get a timely answer, typically within two business days. Although a credentialed person does not have to present the information to your employees, it's important to use a qualified, credentialed person or anyone else who has experience in the substance education field to prepare the training content and act as a resource for you. A DFSP start-up grant may be available to help offset this expense for the first two years of program operation.

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Supervisor training
Skill-building training for all supervisors is a minimum of two hours initially and one hour annually as a refresher for supervisors who already have received the initial two hours. New supervisors should receive the initial training within eight weeks of becoming a supervisor, and these supervisors would then get the one hour refresher in subsequent years. You must use a trainer that is credentialed or qualified by experience in substance training for supervisors, so your supervisors can meet their responsibilities for supporting your program while buffering your legal liability. In Ohio, employers are liable for the actions of their supervisors AND the supervisors are individually liable for their actions. Consider additional training as needed in your workplace.

Required supervisor skill-building training content includes:

  • Behavioral observation aimed at detecting when an employee may be in violation of the employer’s DFSP policy and require an intervention before there is an incident/accident/injury;
  • Documentation of the behavior that suggests reasonable suspicion and justifies an intervention;
  • Appropriate and professional confrontation of the behavior that suggests a possible violation of the employer’s DFSP policy before there is an incident/accident/injury;
  • How to make referrals for testing;
  • How to make referrals for assistance including a substance assessment.
The above content is IN ADDITION TO accident-analysis training.

Back to program requirements, deadlines at a glance

Drug/alcohol testing
Employers will need to do:

  • 100-percent, pre-employment drug testing (or new-hire testing or a combination of the two) for private employers and 100-percent of safety-sensitive or special needs positions for public employers;
  • Reasonable suspicion alcohol and/or other drug testing as appropriate;
  • Post-accident alcohol and/or other drug testing of anyone who may have caused or contributed to an accident following an accident investigation for private employers and, with documentation of reasonable suspicion following an accident investigation, for public employers;
  • Return-to-duty alcohol and/or other drug testing for employees who are given a second chance after a positive test;
  • Follow-up alcohol and/or other drug testing for employees who are allowed to retain employment following a positive test and who return to duty;
  • Use of a certified laboratory, collection site and a certified Medical Review Officer (MRO);
  • Report testing information as required on the DFSP Annual Report and provide a copy of an invoice from the employer's collection site for testing services;
  • For Advanced-level employers only, random drug testing of 15-percent of the total average annual work force for private employers or 15-percent of the total average annual safety-sensitive positions for public employers.

You do not have to conduct a post-accident test if all of the following circumstances exist:

  • The accident resulted in a minor injury, even when off-site medical attention was required;
  • There was no violation of work rules;
  • An accident investigation determined there was no reasonable suspicion related to the accident;
  • The accident is considered normal in relationship to the job functions of the injured employee.

Testing focuses on who may have caused or contributed to a work-related accident where there is an injury requiring off-site medical attention, a fatality or damage to company property or vehicles in apparent excess of amounts the employer specifies in its written DFSP policy. An accident investigation is the key to determine whom to test and when alcohol testing is appropriate along with a possible drug test. The testing system used for DFSP is called systems presence testing. This form of testing for specified drugs and alcohol has the support of organized labor and is considered the fairest and most reliable testing system in existence. It has withstood court challenges nationally and retained its basic structure based on reliability and accuracy in determining the presence of metabolites in an employee’s system that reflect use of drugs or in breath/blood that reflect use of alcohol. BWC’s approach to alcohol and other drug testing follows the federal testing model that is considered the gold standard in testing with substantial built-in protections for employees through acknowledged accuracy and reliability, and the involvement of a certified medical review officer who reviews all testing results.

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Employee assistance
We recommend the highest degree of assistance available for employees and, at the Basic level, a commitment to the health and well-being of employees, including compiling and sharing a list of local assistance resources for employees with substance problems and their families. In addition, we require employers participating in the Advanced level to also pre-establish a working relationship with an employee assistance professional to whom they can refer an employee with a substance problem for an assessment and pay for the cost of the assessment.

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Rebuttable presumption
The rebuttable presumption law (HB223) put the burden of proof on employees to prove that alcohol or drugs in their system were not the proximate cause of a workplace injury. This legislation is intended to curb substance abuse in the workplace.

The law allows employers to ask for disallowance of a workers' compensation claim filed by an employee who tests positive on a qualifying chemical test. The law also applies if the injured employee refuses the test. For the claim to be allowed, the injured employee must produce sufficient evidence to prove that being intoxicated by alcohol or under the influence of any of nine controlled substances (not prescribed by the employee's physician) did not cause the injury.

We provide employers with a written notice along with their certificate of coverage (or self-insurance). Employers must post this notice to alert employees they may not be eligible for workers' compensation benefits if they're injured while intoxicated or under the influence.

Notice: Employers who wish to contest a workers' compensation claim must post notice that is no smaller than the certificate of coverage in the same location as the certificate. Rebuttable presumption cannot be considered in relationship to a claim unless this written notice was properly posted before the accident leading to injury.

This law does not impact the policies or operations of BWC’s Drug-Free Safety Program (DFSP). Post-accident, random and other forms of testing in BWC’s drug-free workplace programs are still permissible and do NOT address claim compensability.

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DFSP vendor directory
BWC has partnered with The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (MHAS) to offer Ohio employers a DFSP vendor directory of companies and individuals qualified to supply services related to a drug-free workplace. Employers may access the directory to obtain contact information for providers by service such as employee education and supervisor training. Employers also can search by county served or statewide service availability. Employers also may use DFSP services from other qualified vendors.

We encourage you to consider the drug-free services from a one-stop shop consortium that packages and offers services to help you meet DFSP requirements and realize costs savings associated with economies of scale.

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DFSP publications

DFSP Guide
This guide explains the rules, program requirements and policies in establishing a DFSP. It also offers information needed to address substance use within your company. Click here to access this guide.

DFSP Self-Implementation Workbook
This workbook offers guidance on how to develop a drug-free program that is firmly tied to your company’s approach to improve workplace safety at all levels within your company. Check lists help you consider everything of significance for each program element. Click here to access this workbook.

DFSP Safety Resource Guide
Safety management resources guide - provides recommendations, links to safety management tools, lists of training classes and video resources. It's intended to assist you with making safety and claims management improvements identified in the SH-26. So, it's organized using the same 10 categories.

DFSP SafetyGrant$ Procedural Guide
BWC’s SafetyGrant$ program provides limited startup grants to offset the costs involved in implementing the DFSP in your workplace. Click here to access this guide and learn more about available grants.

State Construction Employer Drug-Free Guide
This guide explains the program requirements and steps employers must take to be listed as approved in BWC’s state construction contractor/subcontractor database. Construction industry employers, whether based in Ohio or another state, must have an active BWC policy to work on Ohio public improvement/construction projects. The guide walks these employers through the process of obtaining a policy number. It also outlines the requirements of BWC’s DFSP (Basic and Advanced levels) or comparable programs. Click here to access this guide.

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DFSP forms and additional resources
Application for Drug-Free Safety Program (U-140)
Accident Report (DFSP-1)
Safety Management Self-Assessment (SH-26)

  • Safety management resources guide - provides recommendations, links to safety management tools, lists of training classes and video resources. It's intended to assist you with making safety and claims management improvements identified in the SH-26. So, it's organized using the same 10 categories.
Annual Report – Basic and Advanced Levels (DFSP-3)
Annual Report - Comparable Program Only (DFSP-4)
Safety Action Plan (DFSP-5)
SafetyGRANT$ information
Rebuttable presumption: Obtaining proper evidence
HB 223 - copy of legislation
HB 223 - Legislative Services Commission summary



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