When will I be tested?
Safety-sensitive employees are subject to drug or alcohol testing in the following situations:
• Reasonable Suspicion/Cause.
As a new hire, you are required to submit to a drug test. Employers may, but are not required to, conduct alcohol testing.
Only after your employer receives a negative drug test result (and negative alcohol test result – if administered) may you begin performing safety-sensitive functions. This also applies if you are a current employee transferring from a non-safety-sensitive function into a safety-sensitive position (even if it is the same employer).
You are required to submit to any test (whether drug, alcohol or both) that a supervisor requests based on reasonable suspicion. Reasonable suspicion means that one or more trained supervisors reasonably believes or suspects that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They cannot require testing based on a hunch or guess alone; their suspicion must be based on observations concerning your appearance, behavior, speech and smell that are usually associated with drug or alcohol use.
You are subject to unannounced random drug & alcohol testing. Alcohol testing is administered just prior to, during or just after performing safety sensitive functions. Depending on the industry specific regulations, you may only be subject to random drug testing.
No manager, supervisor, official or agent may select you for testing just because they want to. Under DOT regulations, employers must use a truly
random selection process. Each employee must have an equal chance to be selected and tested.
Just prior to the testing event, you will be notified of your selection and provided enough time to stop performing your safety sensitive function and report to the testing location. Failure to show for a test or interfering with the testing process can be considered a refusal.
If you are involved in an event (accident, crash, etc.) meeting certain criteria of the DOT agency, a post-accident test will be required. You will then have to take a drug test and an alcohol test. You are required to remain available for this testing and are not permitted to refuse testing.
Remember: Safety-sensitive employees are obligated by law to submit to and cooperate in drug & alcohol testing mandated by DOT regulations.
Return to Duty
If you have violated the prohibited drug & alcohol rules, you are required to take a drug and/or alcohol test before returning to safety-sensitive functions for any DOT regulated employer. You are subject to unannounced follow-up testing at least 6 times in the first 12 months following your return to active safety-sensitive service.
The amount of follow-up testing you receive is determined by a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) and may continue for up to 5 years. This means the SAP will determine how many times you will be tested (at least 6 times in the first year), for how long, and for what substance (i.e. drugs, alcohol, or both). Your employer is responsible for ensuring that follow-up testing is conducted and completed, and your employer may have a policy that all follow-up tests are collected under direct observation. Follow-up testing is in addition to all other DOT required testing.
How is a urine drug test administered?
Regardless of the DOT agency requiring the drug test, the drug testing process always consists of three components:
• The Collection. (49 CFR Part 40, Subparts C, D, E)
• Testing at the Laboratory. (49 CFR Part 40, Subpart F)
• Review by the Medical Review Officer. (49 CFR Part 40, Subpart G)
During the collection process, a urine specimen collector will:
• Verify your identity using a current valid photo ID, such as driver’s license, passport, employer issued picture ID, etc.
• Create a secure collection site by:
– Restricting access to the site to only those being tested.
– Securing all water sources and placing blue dye in any standing water.
– Removing or securing all cleaning products/fluids at the collection site.
• Afford you privacy to provide a urine specimen.
– Exceptions to the rule generally surround issues of attempted adulteration or substitution of a specimen or any situation where general questions of validity arise, like an unusual temperature.
• Ask you to remove any unnecessary garments and empty your pockets (you may retain your wallet).
• Instruct you to wash and dry your hands.
• Select or have you select a sealed collection kit and open it in your presence.
• Request you to provide a specimen (a minimum of 45 mL) of your urine into a collection container.
• Check the temperature and color of the urine.
• In your presence, pour the urine into two separate bottles (A or primary and B or split), seal them with tamper-evident tape, and then ask you to sign the seals after they have been placed on the bottles.
Remember: Neither you nor the collector should let the specimen out of your sight until it has been poured into two separate bottles and sealed.
• Ask you to provide your name, date of birth, and daytime and evening phone numbers on the Medical Review Officer Copy (Copy #2) of the Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form (CCF).
– This is so the Medical Review Officer (MRO) can contact you directly if there are any questions about your test.
• Complete necessary documentation on the Laboratory Copy (Copy #1) of the CCF to demonstrate the chain of custody (i.e. handling) of the specimen.
• Give you the Employee Copy (Copy # 5) of the CCF and may suggest you list any prescription and over-the-counter medications you may be taking on the back of your copy of the CCF (this may serve as a reminder for you in the event the MRO calls you to discuss your test results).
• Package and ship both sealed bottles and completed CCF to a U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) certified testing laboratory as quickly as possible. If you are unable to provide 45 mL of urine on the first attempt, the time will be noted, and you will be:
• Required to remain in the testing area under the supervision of the collection site personnel, their supervisor, or a representative from your company,
– Leaving the testing area without authorization may be considered a refusal to test
• Urged to drink up to 40 oz. of fluid, distributed reasonably over a period of up to three hours,
• Asked to provide a new specimen (into a new collection container).
• If you do not provide a sufficient specimen within three hours, you must obtain a medical evaluation within five days to determine if there is an
acceptable medical reason for not being able to provide a specimen. If it is determined that there is no legitimate physiological or pre-existing
psychological reason for not providing a urine specimen, it will be considered a refusal to test.
How do you know if you are taking a federal or a private company drug test?
All DOT drug tests are completed using the Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form. Those words appear at the top of each form.
Testing at the Laboratory
At the laboratory, the staff will:
• Determine if flaws exist. If flaws exist, the specimen is rejected for testing.
• Open only the A bottle and conduct a screening test. Specimens that screen positive will be analyzed again using a completely different testing
– If the specimen tests negative in either test, the result will be reported as a negative.
– Only if the specimen tests positive under both methods will the specimen be reported to the medical review officer as a positive test.
• Report the findings of the analysis of the A bottle to the Medical Review Officer (MRO).
• Store the A and B bottles for any reported positive, adulterated, or substituted result for at least 12 months.
Remember: The Lab may conduct specimen validity tests (SVTs) to determine if the specimen was adulterated or substituted. Tests found to
be adulterated or substituted are also reported to the MRO and may be considered a refusal to test.
Review by the Medical Review Officer (MRO)
Upon receipt of the test result from the laboratory, the MRO will:
• Review paperwork for accuracy.
• Report a negative result to the Designated Employer Representative (DER).
• If the result is positive, conduct an interview with you to determine if there is a legitimate medical reason for the result. If a legitimate medical reason is established, the MRO will report the result to the DER as negative. If not, the MRO will report the result to the DER as positive.
• If the result is an adulterated or substituted test, conduct an interview with you to determine if there is a legitimate medical reason for the result. If a legitimate medical reason is established, the MRO will report the result to the DER as cancelled. If not, the MRO will report the result to the DER as a refusal.
• Report a non-negative test result to the DER if:
– You refused to discuss the results with the MRO;
– You did not provide the MRO with acceptable medical documentation to explain the non-negative test result.
• Inform you that you have 72 hours from the time of the verified result to request to have your B “split” bottle sent to another certified lab for analysis for the same substance or condition that was found in the A “primary” bottle.