DOT Testing 101

Let’s face it – most companies are always looking to create a drug-free workplace to improve the safety of their employees. They can guarantee this through workplace drug testing to discourage illegal drug abuse among their trusted employees. However, there is a shift to hybrid workplaces, and companies require a significant remote workforce. It creates confusion about how drug tests will occur at home and the methods that will yield the most accurate results.

The Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1991 when they recognized the need for a drug and alcohol-free policy for various industries in the United States. All DOT-regulated companies are businesses whose operations are subject to oversight by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and must show proof that employees undergo DOT-approved drug testing standards. Notably, safety-sensitive employees require random DOT drug testing during their employment period.

Who Is Subject To DOT Drug Tests?

The DOT’s Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC) established rules on how tests should be conducted as well as testing and reporting procedures. The goal is to have a 100-percent drug-free and alcohol-free workplace for DOT-regulated industries. Operators are not the single subject for these tests; all positions that fall under the safety-sensitive category will require tests. Therefore, employee duties, regardless of the job titles, will determine if one is eligible for a test or not.

Some safety-sensitive industries, sectors, and jobs are:

  • Federal Aviation Administration: Flight crew & attendants, ground security coordinators, and more.
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders who operate Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs), large-capacity vehicles that carry 16 passengers or more, or hazardous materials transport vehicles.
  • U.S. Coast Guard: Crew operating any commercial vessel.
  • Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration: Operators, maintenance technicians, and emergency response workers.
  • Federal Railroad Administration: Train workers, signal service workers, and train dispatchers.
  • Federal Transit Administration: Public transit vehicle operators, controllers, mechanics, and armed security.

What Substances Does DOT Test For?

Dot testing test for alcohol and drug substances in the human body. These include:

  • Cocaine: can be detected for up to three days.
  • Marijuana/THC: can be detected between three days and one or more weeks.
  • Opiates (codeine, heroin, and morphine): can be detected for up to three days.
  • Amphetamines: can be detected for up to three days.
  • Phencyclidine (PCP): can be detected for up to three days.

What Tests Are Used For DOT Testing?

The standard test used for DOT includes urine collection and testing exclusively for the presence of drug deposits. Others use breath and saliva to test for alcohol. These three drug testing methods used as DOT are all non-intrusive.

Urine Drug Testing

DOT primarily uses urine analysis to screen employees for drug use. This test may be used for pre-employment, random testing during employment, or in the event of an at-work incident.

Saliva & Breath Testing

Saliva and breath testing are primarily used for DOT alcohol testing for employees suspected to be under the influence.

When Are DOT Tests Conducted?

The situations that require DOT testing vary from one company to another. DOT employees are subject to drug testing in situations such as:

  • For pre-employment screening
  • Random tests in the workplace
  • Post-accident
  • Return-to-duty tests
  • Follow-up tests

Companies conduct drug tests on all new hires who work in safety-sensitive positions. Alcohol testing is an option as per the employer’s discretion or the company policy.

Random drug tests must be truly random, so each employee has an equal chance in the selection process, otherwise, employers cannot subject any employee to a drug test without identified and documented probable cause. ARCpoint Labs of Austin North offers training for DOT and random drug testing practices, so you never need to worry that your company is uncompliant.

What Conduct Is Prohibited By DOT Regulations?

The goals of the DOT drug test are to improve employees’ safety and eliminate drug abuse in the workplace. Safety-sensitive employees will not be allowed to report about their duties in circumstances such as:

  • Under the influence: Anyone with a blood concentration above 0.4 will not perform their daily duties.
  • Drug use: Anyone using any illicit drugs will not carry out their daily tasks in the workplace.
  • Refusing test: Employees who refuse the test should be liable for dismissal from duties.

DOT Testing In Austin, TX

At ARCpoint Labs, we offer comprehensive and accurate DOT drug testing solutions in Austin, TX, and surrounding areas. We have credentialed professionals to provide high testing standards to enable you to carry out DOT drug tests effectively, develop a random drug testing program for your workplace, and train your management staff on how to identify reasonable suspicion. Contact us today for more information.

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