DOT & Non-DOT Drug & Alcohol Testing Services
Preferred Alliance Drug & Alcohol Program Administration
The abuse of alcohol, drugs and other illegal substances often decrease an employee’s health, happiness, job efficiency and even puts the lives of their fellow co-workers in danger.
Companies with a strong drug testing program:
Promote safety in the workplace and protect their employees and their customers.
Avoid having habitual substance abusers on their payroll.
Recognize and provide assistance to employees with abuse problems.
What Is The Difference Between DOT and Non-DOT Drug Testing?
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) mandates that employers of safety-sensitive personnel in regulated industries conduct drug testing in accordance with 49 CFR Part 40, “Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug Testing Programs.”
The procedures used for urine collection in Part 40 are very specific and the Department of Transportation requires the rules to be followed exactly when collecting urine specimens. The Custody Control Form (CCF) must also be used with all DOT-required testing. Using the DOT-approved CCF during the collection process helps technicians facilitate the correct seizure, transfer, handling, and analysis of all urine specimens.
The DOT drug test is a 5-panel screen that looks for:
A Non-DOT drug test could also be the same 5-panel screen, or five additional drugs can be tested for in a 10 panel screen:
Hallucinogens, prescription painkillers, and ecstasy can also be tested for in a non-DOT drug test if listed in the company’s the drug testing policy.
Why Would You Use a Non-DOT Drug Test?
Employees who fly planes, operate a train or drive a truck and those who transport hazardous materials operate in industries regulated by the Department Of Transportation and are required to abide by the rules outlined in 49 CFR Part 40 when it comes to drug testing.
Non-DOT drug tests can be used for employees in an industry not regulated by the Department Of Transportation. Drug tests for Non-DOT employees can be expanded beyond the 5-panel screen that is mandated by the Department Of Transportation if these tests are specified in the company’s drug testing policy. The timing and type of testing performed can be decided more on an employer’s specific needs. The Department Of Transportation approved Custody Control Form (CCF) is not used in Non-DOT drug testing.
While Non-DOT drug testing is subject to very few federal legal regulations, state and local regulations concerning labor law may need to be taken into consideration while drafting your company’s drug testing policy. For example, labor regulations enacted in the state of California are more restrictive of when and why drug tests may be performed on employees than those enacted at the federal level. San Francisco in Northern California even has its own labor laws specific to just that city that are more restrictive than the state-level laws when it comes to when employee drug testing is allowed and for what reasons.
When Are Non-DOT Drug Tests Given?
While the actual test is the same, different drug tests are defined by when the test takes place.
A lot of companies have new employees take a drug test before their first day of work. This test helps these companies keep habitual substance abusers out of their workforce and more importantly, promotes a safe workplace.
Using a software program that generates employee names at random, certain random drug tests can be administered monthly, quarterly or just annually if that is the frequency that most closely fits the needs of an employer. Random drug testing acts as a deterrent for habitual drug and alcohol abuse because employees have less of an idea when they may be required to take a drug test.
In the event of a workplace accident possibly causing injuries, compensation claims or even worse, a fatality, finding out if substance abuse was involved is vital for the safety of any workplace. A drug test should be administered soon after an accident as long as a reasonable determination for testing is made, so that traces of substances that may have been present can be detected before they have left an individual’s system.
If you are going to utilize this type of test, you need to have supervisors who are trained to spot suspicious behaviors. They are only conducted if a company official can show reason to believe an employee might be under the influence. If a supervisor is suspicious of an employee’s conduct or behavior and can reasonably show that a person exhibits sign and symptoms of possible drug and/or alcohol use in the workplace.
If an employee previously tested positive for any of the substances being screened for in a drug test and their employer allows them to return to work they are within their rights to administer another drug test.
In the event that an employee successfully passes a Return to Duty drug test and returns to work, it can also be a good idea to test them again, through several unannounced screenings, at various points throughout the next year in order to be certain the substance abuse is no longer an issue. Sometimes referred to as a back-to-work agreement.
Under Non-DOT Point Of Collection Testing (PCT) Gives Employers Instant Negative Results
Preferred Alliance offers point of collection testing “quick test” with instant negative results. All presumptive positives are sent to a laboratory for confirmation testing and then sent to a Medical Review Officer (MRO) who will conduct the verification process with the donor.
We use the latest in technology to perform any testing service that our clients require. At the laboratory a screening test is performed and if positive then a confirmation test is conducted using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry or Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GS/MS or LC/MS).
For employers who need a quick turn around on a negative test, this process works quite well. Our clients in the manufacturing and construction business fine that this process serves them very well.
What Are The Rules For Alcohol Testing?
A DOT alcohol screening test can be conducted using a breath or saliva sampling and if the result is greater than 0.02 blood alcohol concentration a confirmation test will be required. Evidential Breath Testing (EBTs) devices.
While the DOT has very specific rules that require the transportation industry to perform alcohol testing, there are very few federal laws concerning alcohol testing in industries not regulated by the DOT.
How are alcohol tests performed?
Breath alcohol testing is the most common form of alcohol screening due to its simplicity and the immediacy of the results. During a breath alcohol test, an employee blows forcefully into the EBT’s mouthpiece for at least 6 seconds or until the EBT device indicates that an adequate breath sample has been captured.
If the blood alcohol result is less than 0.02 the test is negative. Once a breath sample has been obtained the Breath Alcohol Technician (BAT) then reports the test results to the employer confidentiality in person, in writing, via telephone or by other electronic means.
If an employee tests positive for alcohol the BAT must report the results to the employer immediately so that employee can be removed from performing safety-sensitive functions.
Non-evidential screening devices, such as saliva test strips that can detect the alcohol content of a person’s saliva can also be used for alcohol testing.
What happens if an alcohol test is positive?
An alcohol test is considered positive if:
A test results in a breath alcohol of 0.04 or greater.
A saliva test is positive.
Employee refuses to complete an alcohol test.
If a breath alcohol test registers 0.02 or greater, but less than 0.04, the employee should not be allowed to work for at least 24 hours under Federal Motor Carriers Administration (FMCSA).
Some Words From Our Clients
“Merced County Schools Insurance Group has contracted with Preferred Alliance since DOT-compliance for our Member District’s commercially licensed drivers. The program has been seamless, and without exception, perfectly compliant and trouble-free.”
“DOT regulations are very complex with plenty of gray areas – one mistake can close us down. Preferred Alliance’s timely response and accurate information on how to manage the testing process has helped us achieve ‘letter-perfect’ compliance. We have had a great relationship for almost 10 years – there’s no reason to consider anyone else.”
“I have had the pleasure of working with Preferred Alliance for our seasonal drug testing needs since 1998. In our industry, we place high demands on our testing providers for flexible scheduling, quick turnaround, and competitive pricing. Preferred Alliance has consistently exceeded our expectations.”
DOT’s 10 Steps To Collection Site Security and Integrity
- Pay careful attention to employees throughout the collection process.
- Ensure that there is no unauthorized access to the collection areas and that undetected access (e.g., through a door not in view) is not possible.
- Make sure that employees show the proper picture ID.
- Make sure employees empty pockets; remove outer garments (e.g., coveralls, jacket, coat, hat); leave briefcases, purses, and bags behind; and wash their hands.
- Maintain personal control of the specimen and CCF at all times during the collection.
- Secure any water sources or otherwise make them unavailable to employees (e.g., turn off water inlet, tape handles to prevent opening faucets, secure tank lids).
- Ensure that the water in the toilet and tank (if applicable) has bluing (coloring) agent in it. Tape or otherwise secure shut any movable toilet tank top, or put bluing in the tank.
- Ensure that no soap, disinfectants, cleaning agents, or other possible adulterants are present.
- Inspect the site to ensure that no foreign or unauthorized substances are present.
- Secure areas and items (e.g., ledges, trash receptacles, paper towel holders, under-sink areas, ceiling tiles) that appear suitable for concealing contaminants.