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James B. Biggs
James B. Biggs
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New Workers Compensation Rule on Drugs and Alchohol

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Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has signed a bill aimed to keep businesses from paying workers’ compensation benefits to employees for drug or alcohol-related accidents.

The change was spearheaded by business groups looking and should clear up what rules apply when an employer suspects alcohol or drug played a part in a worker’s injury.

Current Kansas law states that an employer doesn’t have to provide workers’ compensation benefits if drug or alcohol use contributes to an employee’s injury or death. Even when dealing with prescripton or over-the-counter medicines, an employee must still establish that the drug was being used properly.

The new law will specifically address when evidence of drug and alcohol use can be introduced at hearings. As it now stands, Kansas law says drug or alcohol test results can’t be introduced unless an employer has cause to believe a worker probably was impaired. Now results can be introduced if a worker is tested while receiving medical treatment or if an employer mandates such tests after an accident.