Archive for July, 2010

DHS Finalizes I-9 Employment Form Rule

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security ( DHS ) has finalized a regulation that provides greater flexibility for employers to electronically sign and store I-9 forms, which are used by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ( ICE ) to verify employment eligibility-eliminating the need for paper filing and streamlining efforts to ensure a legal workforce nationwide.

Previously, employers were required to store the paper forms for later inspection by DHS and ICE. DHS adopted rules in 2006 permitting electronic storage of employment verification forms, consistent with the electronic storage rules for tax records, and this rule provides additional flexibility for employers-including more options for data compression, fewer storage requirements, and more options for storage systems, among others. It addresses specific concerns many employers had expressed during the public notice and comment period on the 2006 interim final rule.

The final rule is effective August 23, 2010.

VA Allows Use of Medical Marijuana

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Veterans in states with medical-marijuana laws will be allowed to use the drug without losing their access to pain medication under a new policy announced by the federal Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The New York Times reported July 23 that the new policy won’t allow VA hospitals or clinics to prescribe medical marijuana, but will create an exception for medical users of the drug who otherwise could face loss of their pain medications for illicit drug use.

Concerns about being punished for using medical marijuana had led some veterans to avoid using the VA system, experts said.

“By creating a directive on medical marijuana, the VA ensures that throughout its vast hospital network, it will be well understood that legal medical marijuana use will not be the basis for the denial of services,” said Michael Krawitz, executive director of Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access.

“We now have a branch of the federal government accepting marijuana as a legal medicine,” said Steve Fox, government-relations director for the Marijuana Policy Project.

Global Safety Network Announces Partnership with Admin 2000

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

July 19, 2010

From: Bob Peterson, President

Global Safety Network, a National Risk Mitigation and Consulting Company, is proud to announce a partnering with Admin 2000, a Florida based provider of workplace programs.
The partnership will provide Global Safety Network

How are employees selected for random testing?

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Everyone in the pool must have an equal chance of being selected and tested in each selection period. Selections can be by employee name, identifying title, or with FRA regulated testing, a group that is clearly delineated in company policy or random plan.

A scientifically valid method must be used to select employees for testing, which may include: use of a random-number table, a computer-based random number generator that

School Drug Tests Effective in Prevention

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

From The Beaumont Enterprise, Texas: The fuss about random drug testing at local schools seems to be for naught after a recent study shows that testing actually reduces the number of students who use drugs.

Released Tuesday, Effectiveness of Mandatory-Random Student-Drug Testing by Institute of Education Sciences, students subject to the random tests reported less substance use than students in high schools without a drug-testing policy, according to the study.

The policies haven’t entirely solved the teenage drug use problem, as students in schools both with and without drug-testing guidelines still are using illegal substances.

Sixteen percent of students in schools that have policies in place admitted using substances they could be tested for, compared to admissions from 22 percent of students in schools without drug-testing policies.

The institute studied 36 high schools in seven districts across the South that had been awarded grants through the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Drug Free School in 2006.

Abuse of Prescription Drugs Soaring

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

The Associate Press reports that a new government study finds a 400 percent increase in the number of people admitted to treatment for abusing prescription pain medication.

The increase in substance abuse among people ages 12 and older was recorded during the 10-year-period from 1998 to 2008. It spans every gender, race, ethnicity, education and employment level, and all regions of the country.

The study was released Thursday by Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House office of drug control policy. Kerlikowske says prescription drug abuse is now the second-most prevalent form of illicit drug use in the country, and the nation’s fastest-growing drug problem.

What happens if a collector fails to perfom an observed test when required?

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

If a collector, Medical Review Officer (MRO), Third Party Administrator (TPA), or other service agent learns that a Direct Observation collection using the required procedures was not conducted, the employer needs to be informed.

Upon learning that a Direct Observation collection using the required procedures was not conducted, the employer needs to direct the employee to have an immediate recollection under Direct Observation.

What should an employer do if the SAP fails to make the required recommendation for education and/or treatment of an employee who has violated a DOT agency drug or alcohol testing rule, and simply sends the employee back to the employer for a return-do-duty (RTD) test?

Friday, July 9th, 2010

The employer should not administer an RTD test under these circumstances. The employer should refer the employee back to the SAP with direction to prescribe education and/or treatment and conduct a re-evaluation of the employee to determine whether the employee has successfully complied with the SAP

Study Hints at Link Between Youth Marijuana Use and Depression

Friday, July 9th, 2010

A Dutch study has found that marijuana use before age 17 was associated with a 50-percent increase in the risk of later suffering an episode of depression, although researchers said that the association weakened when a history of conduct disorders was figured in, Reuters reported July 6.

Researchers said the findings don’t prove that youthful marijuana use leads to depression, or vice-versa. However, study author Ron de Graff of the Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction said it is possible that drug use could affect the still-developing adolescent brain. “Early cannabis use may have important consequences for later mental health,” he said. “We know now — also from other studies — that cannabis use is not without negative consequences.”

The study was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Staying Under Duress

Friday, July 9th, 2010

As the economy slows and people try to wait it out, finding a new job can be difficult. What