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State aims to lower threshold for alcohol in workplace injuries

Posted On: Feb. 12, 2020 1:36 PM CST


A bill that would lower the blood-alcohol concentration in blood or breath to .05 for alcohol to be a “major contributing factor” in a workplace injury in Utah was sent to the state’s Legislative Research and General Counsel on Monday following unanimous passage earlier this month in the state Senate and in January in the House.  

H.B. 11 strikes out the language in Utah workers compensation code that currently deems .08 the blood or breath alcohol limit for employers to lean on two provisions in the code to dispute a claim: that it is “presumed that the major contributing cause of an employee's injury is the employee's intoxication from alcohol” and that “the termination of an employee from reemployment for the employee's use of alcohol may affect the employee's disability compensation for a disability claim.”

Under current Utah law, the presumption is rebuttable if certain conditions are met, including that “a competent medical opinion from a physician verifies that the amount of controlled substances, metabolites, or alcohol in the employee's system does not support a finding that the conduct… was the major contributing cause of the employee's injury or a contributing cause of the employee's injury.”