PA Workers’ Insurance Fund Extends Workers’ Comp “Drug-Free Workplace Pilot” Discounts

March 25, 2003

Pennsylvania’s State Workers’ Insurance Fund (SWIF) and Drug Free Pennsylvania announced that the drug-free workplace pilot project will be extended for an additional year. The pilot project provides a workers’ compensation premium credit for those SWIF insureds which enroll in Drug Free Pennsylvania’s “Drugs Don’t Work Here” program.

“The pilot project is designed to enhance the initiation of drug-free workplace programs in companies where no program exists or those who want to enhance their current programs,” stated Beth Winters, executive director and general counsel to Drug Free Pennsylvania. “This pilot offers SWIF-insured companies the flexibility and the financial incentive to implement a policy, adopt drug testing or an employee assistance program or conduct employee awareness or supervisory training.”

Eligible companies with premiums over $5,000 can obtain up to a 5% credit from SWIF by participating in Drug Free Pennsylvania’s Drugs Don’t Work Here program services. The pilot offers a 2% credit for policy development and implementation and a 1% credit for other components such as training.

SWIF’s Philadelphia district office launched the pilot in April 2001 and it has expanded to SWIF’s Harrisburg, Pottsville, and Sunbury offices. During the initial pilot program, over 50 companies enrolled in the program and realized $46,000 in premium credits for their participation. Other states have enacted legislation offering voluntary workers’ compensation premium reductions for drug-free workplaces including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Ohio, Tennessee, and Georgia.

The bulletin noted some alarming findings concerning the effects of drug abuse. “Over 76% of current illegal substance abusers are employed in companies of all sizes. Employee substance abuse increases absenteeism and tardiness – drug users are absent from work an average of 5 days per month due to drug use,” said the bulletin. “Other bottom-line costs include increased workplace accidents and injuries, increased usage of medical benefits, and lower employee productivity. A study of the U.S. Postal Service found that drug users were fired 77% more often – increasing hiring and retraining costs.”

Further information on the program can be obtained from Drug Free Pennsylvania at 717.232.0300; fax 1-717-232-5400, or by e-mail to Katherine Schwaibold at: kathi@drugfreepa.org

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