Monday, January 14, 2008

Drunk, Injured, and Fully Qualified for Workers Compensation

In many states, if you get injured on the job and your drunk or using drugs, it is assumed that your injury is a direct result of your being intoxicated or under the influence. Hence, no workers' compensation. Well, South Dakota has a whole new reason to fire up its efforts to get EAPs in every workplace.

You see, the State tried to reverse this doctrine, but the legislature didn't go for it. It said "NO!" When you're drunk on the job in South Dakota and get injured, you still get workers' compensation. Being intoxicated is not relevant, unless the employer can prove it was the direct cause of your injury. You don't have to prove that the drinking or drug use was not the cause of your injury. It's assumed. The State of South Dakota tried to reverse this rule and make injured employees prove the drug or alcohol use were not the cause their injury.

Link to the article:

It is still the burden of the employer to prove that the employee's alcohol or drug use was the cause of the accident. If they can't prove that a drunk or drugging employee's behavior caused the injury (that can be tough) then the Workers' Compensation still pays.

Ouch! So, what is the solution. The answer lies in having decent EAP services with strong core technology integration (integration in my book means integrated within the organization's system, not an EAP mixed with an insurance product) that provide tons of supervisor training and good supervisor referral procedures. Drug testing? Well, what about the alcoholic with a .00 BAL who is hungover and shaking and at greater risk in withdrawal than if was at a comfortable .15 BAL? His belligerence is the gateway to intervention, not intoxication. He won't look, act, or possibly smell intoxicated. In fact he may be the most well-liked, compentent and socially accepted employee in the company unless he's not drinking! Business and industry is still not getting the EAP message. They got the managed care message. The EAP message is still asleep. Or those in control of the EAP message are asleep at the switch. That's us. Me. You. EAPA.

Why are we still talking about these basic issues of EAP theory and the core technology? Why is South Dakota--today--not in the headlines with a massive effort to get EAPs into every business in the State? The rate of alcoholism in the workplace there is enormous because it has a high native American population with biogenetic susceptibility to addictive disease.

Stay tuned to this blog. I am going to discuss new frontiers of the core technology and unexplored galaxies of EAP opportunity. Ever here of something called EAP Behavioral Risk Mapping? Stay tuned.