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possible Lab drug testing
Peter Sheffer, V.P., and Director of Insurances3 min read

Pre-Placement Drug Tests: The First Step in WC Risk Management

Pre-placement drug testing remains an integral part of the NHADA WCT cost containment solutions. Hiring the right person for the job is the first step in managing workers' compensation risk. National studies have found that: “Workplace accidents are three and a half times more likely to occur among alcohol/drug users. In addition, drug/alcohol users are five times more likely to file Worker’s Compensation claims” (NIDA, 1997). Studies further indicate that illicit drug habits prolong disabilities, increase medical treatment, and contribute to prescription drug dependency.

Now is not the time to become complacent with pre-placement drug testing. For many years, the WCT Board has mandated that a ten-panel pre-placement drug test must be performed on all new hires. The individual Member now has the choice as to whether or not to test for marijuana. But if the applicant fails the test they may not be hired. The consequence of hiring an applicant who has failed the test or was not tested is the Member's responsibility for the costs of that applicant’s worker’s compensation claims(s). If a Member is able to overlook all of the positive benefits of keeping active drug abusers out of their workplace is it worth gambling with the cost of a worker’s comp claim to not perform a pre-placement drug test?

Unfortunately, the opioid crisis continues to rage in New Hampshire.
NHADA Platinum Association Partner WMUR-TV/ New Hampshire reported in July 2023 that, Fatal drug overdoses in New Hampshire are increasing faster than the rest of the country, according to recently released data. The state medical examiner's office final report for 2022 showed that 486 people died of a drug overdose in the Granite State. That's the highest number of overdose deaths since 2017. 
Official numbers for the entire country haven't been released yet, but preliminary data shows that last year, the United States as a whole experienced a 0.5% increase in overdose deaths. New Hampshire experienced a 14% increase in deaths from 2021 to 2022."
Please remember not to allow the applicant to work until the drug test results are back. Non-marijuana rapid tests are now available and results are available, in some cases, on the day of the test. There are times, however, when additional lab testing is required and this takes more time. If the applicant tests positive for a medication, the medical review officer has to contact the applicant to determine if they have a prescription for the drug for which they tested positive. Usually, this takes a couple of extra days, perhaps longer if the applicant does not return the MRO’s calls. It is important that employers not make assumptions when testing takes longer. It doesn’t always mean the individual tested positive. Patience is the key here.

Pre-placement drug tests are not required for 120 days after an employee is laid off.

We have been notified that many testing centers are busy with Covid vaccinations, flu shots, occupational health visits, and other medical issues. The most efficient way for your applicants to get their pre-placement drug test is to call and schedule an appointment. NHADA Bronze Partner ConvenientMD has many locations across the state and has very competitive pricing. Please call their Employer Services Department at 603-766-5913, to set up an account or if you are already registered call your local Convenient MD to schedule an appointment. If you need help at any time during the process please call Marta Silakka at 603-224-2369 or

The WCT Loss Prevention staff developed the NHADA Strategic Hiring Guidelines with the assistance of Labor and Employment Law experts at Devine Millimet. Contained in the Guidelines are everything Members need to develop to implement drug testing policies and procedures. Please be sure to use this resource.

If you have any questions about pre-placement drug testing please contact Pete Sheffer at 603-224-2369, or


Peter Sheffer, V.P., and Director of Insurances

Peter Sheffer earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New Hampshire in 1984. His claims career began shortly thereafter with a commercial insurance company where he obtained his multi-line claims adjuster license. From 1986 to 2005, Pete worked for a large self insurance pool in New Hampshire, handling workers compensation claims for public sector employers. Starting as a road adjuster, he worked his way up to Claims Manager, a position he held for six years before joining the NH Automobile Dealers Association Workers’ Compensation Trust in 2005.