Cross-conflicting regulations, employer confusion

by Tom aka Rusty Rustbelt
Health care thoughts: Cross-conflicting regulations, employer confusion

Most of you will be familiar with the medication drowsiness warnings to the effect of “don’t operate machinery or heavy equipment, etc. etc.” This is from FDA regs. (www.FDA.gov.)

OSHA has extensive guidance about employee safety with manufacturing machinery, heavy equipment and driving and the impact of drowsiness. (www.OSHA.gov)

So it seemed sensible for employers to ask for voluntary disclosure by employees taking pain medications in these work environments, because OSHA puts the safety burden on the employers.

Not so fast! The EEOC (www.EEOC.gov) is litigating cases claiming the request for medication information is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. For a plain English summary of a recent case see The EEOC.

So pretend you are the employer.  Which regulation do you see as primary? Anyone have a workable solution?

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