Notice: New Drug-Free Safety Program replaces Drug-Free Workplace Program (DFWP) effective July 1, 2010
The end of DFWP
BWC will phase out DFWP effective July 1, 2010. The new program, Drug-Free Safety Program (DFSP), will be available for employers the same day with many of the same features as DFWP. The new program will be easier to understand and implement, more actuarially sound and more effective. DFSP relies upon better integration of an employer’s drug-free efforts with its comprehensive workplace safety program. DFSP provides a long-term discount for an unlimited number of years of participation as well as in-and-out-of-the-program privileges to provide greater flexibility for employers.
Private employers will be eligible for DFSP beginning July 1, 2010, and may choose to wait to participate until the January program year. Public employers will be eligible beginning Jan. 1, 2011.
Correspondence for employers currently participating in DFWP
We will be sending correspondence to employers participating in the July 1, 2009, program year to let them know when they’ll receive their last DFWP discount (approximately the end of August 2010). To keep the July 1, 2009, program year discounts, employers must meet all program requirements.
Letter to current DFWP and DF-EZ participants
Note: If you still need information about your participation in DFWP, click on the link below.
Making the switch to DFSP
If you are currently participating in DFWP for the July 1, 2009, program year, you only need to complete the new Application for Drug-Free Safety Program (U-140) to participate in the new program. Indicate on the application whether you want to participate at the basic or advanced level. If you do not choose to participate in DFSP, simply e-mail employer programs to let us know. To learn more about DFSP, its benefits and how to select a program level that suits you, continue reading the information below.
Introduction to DFSP
DFSP offers a premium discount to eligible employers for implementing a loss-prevention strategy addressing workplace use and misuse of alcohol and other drugs, including prescription, over-the-counter, and illegal drug abuse within the context of a holistic safety program. DFSP is designed to more effectively prevent injuries and illness by integrating drug free into each company’s comprehensive safety management system. As noted above, the DFSP will be available for private employers as early as July 1, 2010, and for public employers effective Jan. 1, 2011. The initial application deadline is June 30, 2010, for the July 1, 2010, program year and the last business day in October for the Jan. 1 program year.
Comparing DFSP with DFWP/DF-EZ, DFSP is:
- Wider reaching with expanded benefits;
- Benefits not limited to five years;
- Previous participants eligible to join;
- Simpler and easier to implement than DFWP/DF-EZ; one program with two levels, basic and advanced;
- Streamlined application process
- Effective with measureable results;
- Streamlined safety components;
- Better reporting data;
- Continuous measurement and evaluation;
- Actuarially sound.
DFSP is a voluntary program that encourages employers to detect and deter substance use and misuse, and take appropriate corrective action within the context of addressing overall workplace safety. The most obvious change from DFWP and DF-EZ to DFSP is the emphasis on tailored approaches to loss prevention and risk management. This includes conducting a safety review, providing accident-analysis training for supervisors, submitting accident reports and designing a safety action plan to improve the company’s safety systems.
The courts and the public are holding American employers responsible for the behavior of employees who have alcohol and other drugs in their system at work. Not only do alcohol and other drugs affect profitability of companies, they also affect the health, safety and productivity of substance-using employees and their co-workers. Attempting to address alcohol and drug use alone is insufficient. Employers must do so as part of a heightened focus on improving safety.
Substance use is often the silent and unseen cause of work-related accidents. Unfortunately, employers and their employees don’t realize it until it’s too late. No one disputes that substance use is a problem that can affect every workplace and that the costs are potentially very damaging to an employer’s bottom line, and to the health and well-being of employees. Add unsafe machinery, inadequate work rules and lack of effective safety processes to employee alcohol and drug use, and workplace accidents and injuries become more likely. The DFSP’s long-range benefits provide the greatest value.
Employers who implement the DFSP provide greater protection for all employees. Consider these benefits.
- Heightened awareness of safety and the ability to address gaps in safety systems which lead to:
- Fewer accidents;
- Decreased severity of accident;
- Increased productivity;
- Higher morale (employer shows caring through focus on safety).
- Reduction in use of workers’ compensation medical benefits by substance users
- Decrease in loss, theft and pilferage to support substance user habits
- Protecting the bottom line
- Greater credibility in the community through reliability in products/services
Who is eligible to participate in DFSP?
- Only state-fund employers may receive a discount. That includes private employers and public employer taxing districts with the exception of state agencies. Although ineligible for premium discounts, 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.
- The employer shall be current at the time of the application review for the DFSP and throughout the policy year.
Current means an 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.
- The employer may 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.
- The employer shall be in good standing at the time of application review.
- The employer shall 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.
- technical assistance from BWC to establish a drug-free work environment.
These are the initial requirements for program eligibility. Employers determined to be ineligible may reapply in a subsequent program year. Private employers have two program years from which to choose, Jan. 1 to June 30 or July 1 to Dec. 31. Public employers have a Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 program year.
DFSP offers discounts of 4 percent for implementing a DFSP Basic level program, 7 percent for an Advanced level program and the incremental discount of 3 percent off their already credited rate for group-experience-rated employers participating in DFSP Advanced up to the group cap. In addition, DFSP employers may apply for reimbursement for specified start-up costs for the first two years of DFSP program operation. However, DFSP discounts are not intended to incent employers into doing the right thing but rather, to reward those employers that see the value in doing the right thing.
What about employers participating concurrently in DFSP and another BWC discount program?
Compatibility refers to being able to receive a discount or other benefit concurrently from more than one BWC program. DFSP employers may receive a DFSP discount on top of another program/plan benefit only under the following circumstances:
- Employers participating in DFSP at the Advanced level and group-experience rating will be eligible for the incremental difference between the DFSP Advanced discount (7 percent) and the DFSP Basic discount (4 percent), so an additional 3 percent may be received on top of the group credit up to the established cap pursuant to the current credibility table.
Note: The combination of DFSP Basic and group-experience rating does not offer the ability to stack a DFSP discount on top of the group credit;
- Employers participating in DFSP at either advanced or basic levels and the small deductible program may receive both benefits;
- Employers participating in DFSP and the Safety Council Incentive Program may receive both benefits;
- Employers participating in DFSP for a discount cannot pay salary continuation on claims with dates of injury Jan. 1, 2011 and beyond.
What are the key components of DFSP?
DFSP is designed to help employers deter, detect and take corrective action related to substance use that affects workplace safety. Participants must develop a substance policy that describes their drug-free program, and the starting point is a focus on identifying the effectiveness of the employer’s current safety efforts. Employers accomplish this by completing a safety review that walks them through a series of questions designed to demonstrate where the gaps are within the overall approach to workplace safety.
Accident reporting, accident-analysis training for supervisors and the design of an employer-specific safety action plan are ways in which we assist employers in addressing their industry and operational safety needs. The differences in safety-related requirements between employers participating in DFSP Basic and Advanced levels is the addition of the Safety Action Plan, which moves employers from identifying gaps in safety to taking the appropriate steps to address these issues and better protect the workforce. Our safety consultants are available to offer professional guidance in how to identify and implement these improvements.
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.
As such, 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.
Basic Level (4-percent discount)
DFSP Basic requires completion of a safety review within a time frame identified in BWC written program publications; timely accident reporting; accident-analysis training for supervisors; and development of a written DFSP policy with certain types of testing, such as pre-employment and/or new hire, reasonable suspicion, post-accident, return-to-duty and follow-up. In addition, employers must do annual employee education and supervisor training, and develop a list of local community resources that employees with problems can turn to for assistance as well as commit to employee health and well-being in the DFSP policy.
Advanced Level (7-percent discount)
DFSP Advanced requires employers to commit to putting together a safety action plan based on the results of the completed safety review and to meet all safety requirements of the Basic level. It also requires the same alcohol and other drug testing requirements as the Basic level along with random drug testing of 15 percent of the average annual total work force. For public employers, random testing applies only to safety-sensitive positions or functions, as defined by the employer. Advanced-level employers must offer annual employee education and supervisor training, and must expand available employee assistance to, at minimum, facilitating and paying for a substance assessment for employees testing positive for alcohol or other drugs who are offered a second chance and who retain employment. Advanced-level employers are not free to terminate an employee for a first positive alcohol or other drug test although there are some exceptions described in BWC policy.
For more details, you can review the Drug-Free Safety Program Procedural Guide, which will be available in April 2010. www.ohiobwc.com