Like any workplace, an employee who is impaired by drugs or alcohol is dangerous. However, in the transportation industry, it’s even more frightening because the workplace is the open road, which is occupied by the general public. The Department of Transportation (DOT), which is an agency of the federal government, sets rules and standards for the drug testing of transportation employees for everyone’s protection. These policies establish DOT tests for drugs or alcohol using their authority to test a regulated, safety-sensitive employee.
The rules related to DOT tests for drugs and alcohol are in 49 CFR Part 40. They apply to all of these administrative units, and each has its own governing:
- Federal Railroad (FRA): 49 CFR Part 219
- Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA): 49 CFR Part 199
- Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): 14 CFR Part 120
- United States Coast Guard (USCG): 46 CFR Part 4, 46 CFR Part 16, 33 CFR Part 95
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA): 49 CFR Part 382
- Federal Transit Authority (FTA): 49 CFR Part 655
What is a Non-DOT Drug Test?
A non-DOT test for drugs or alcohol is administered on the employer’s authority according to state standards. Employers can conduct a non-DOT drug test to meet requirements as a drug-free workplace and save money. The criteria vary by state as to who must be tested. The employer can set its policies and procedures for this testing, including these factors.
- Which substances to screen for
- How specimens are collected
- What tests to run
- Who to screen, regardless of the employee’s duties
- What forms and documentation to use
- What happens in the case of violations
When is a DOT Drug Test Required?
DOT regulations specify that DOT safety-sensitive employees must submit to testing in specific situations:
- After an accident
- When asked as part of random testing
- As a condition of returning to work
- As part of pre-employment screening
- Whenever reasonable suspicion exists
- As a follow-up test to any of the above situations
How Do Procedures Compare Between DOT and Non-DOT Drug Tests?
Here are some of the similarities and differences between the two types of tests:
- DOT tests almost always use urine specimens, while non-DOT drug tests may use urine, saliva, or hair based on the state’s regulations.
- DOT testing uses a document called the Federal Drug Testing Control and Custody Form (CCF). In non-DOT testing, each state, employer, or drug testing company can develop its forms. The CCF form cannot be used when administering a non-DOT test, and DOT testing requires the use of the CCF.
- With both types of testing, the testee may not try to alter, dilute, or adulterate the specimen or substitute someone else’s urine for his or her own.
- If a safety-sensitive employee refuses a drug test or fails one, then the employee must meet the requirements of the DOT return to duty process before returning to safety-sensitive duties. With non-DOT testing, an employee who refuses or fails a test follows the employer’s policy on returning to work.
- With both DOT and non-DOT testing, an employee who fails a drug or alcohol test may be fired, even on the first offense. An employee who gets fired after a DOT test must go through the return to duty process before he or she can go to work for another DOT agency doing safety-sensitive tasks. With non-DOT testing, no legal prohibition exists to keep you from taking another job.
Learn more at ARCpoint Labs of Omaha
The rules around drug and alcohol testing in the workplace are complex in both DOT and non-DOT settings. If you would like to learn more, contact us at ARCpoint Labs of Omaha. We’ll be glad to answer any questions you have.
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