DOT and non-DOT Regulated Companies Drug-Free Workplace Program Management:
Workplace drug testing has its roots in military testing programs of the 1960s, when soldiers were tested upon return from Vietnam to identify heroin and hashish users and get them into treatment. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed Executive order (EO) 12564, declaring all federal agencies drug free workplaces and prohibit federal employees from use of illegal drugs. Unfortunately, illicit drug abuse is a serious public health issue in the USA.
Employee drug testing is NOT about a company “catching” employees using drugs. Drug testing program is about preventing and stopping employee drug-use in the workplace. Employee drug testing is about a company legal obligation and duty to keep its workplace and environment SAFE, SECURE and HEALTHY.
Unfortunately, employers must continue drug testing today because employee drug-abuse continues today. Occupational Care US can help you or your companies become and stay drug-free. Contact us for more information.
Employee drug testing services including several tests: pre-employment, random, reasonable suspicion, post-accident, return to duty, follow-up testing and others drug tests. Occupational US Care is performing personal testing, court order testing and other testing. We can perform not only urine drug testing but hair drug analysis.
Pre-employment/pre-placement drug testing is the most common "type" of workplace drug testing employed in the workforce. Legally, pre-employment testing can be required of a job candidate only after a formal "Conditional Offer of Employment" has been made. Companies with DOT-regulated employees (transportation/railroad, oil-gas, etc.) are required under 49 CFR Part 40 et al to do pre-employment testing. Non-regulated companies are not required to do pre-employment tests. But each year, a growing percentage of non-regulated companies do drug testing. Pre-employment testing is a good policy since it is the first-step in establishing and maintaining a Drug-Free Workplace. A negative pre-employment drug test is required prior to employee’s performance of safety-sensitive duties.
Drug tests on a "random" basis are not as common as pre-employment drug tests. The real purpose of random testing is NOT to "catch" employees that are using drugs. It is to prevent employee workplace drug abuse. Random employee drug testing is the most effective deterrent of employee workplace drug-test, because employee’s “the fear of being caught" (and losing their job and income) is the most effective deterrent. Random drug testing is believed to have the strongest deterrent effect. Employers must ensure that random alcohol and drug tests are unannounced.
Testing for "Reasonable Suspicion" is a type of test which is rare utilized by companies. That is true even with those companies that routinely do both pre-employment and random drug testing. The reason is that most companies do not train their supervisors properly how to recognize the "indicators" of employee workplace drug use/abuse. Reasonable suspicion/cause testing is conducting when a supervisor determines if there is sufficient evidence to indicate that employee may have used an illicit drug or alcohol. This kind of test usually generates the highest rate of positive results.
Testing for drugs following an on-the-job accident has become somewhat a "standard" type of workplace drug testing for different companies. That is policy even for some companies that do not do any other type of testing. Why?
In most states, an employee that tests "positive" for one or more drugs immediately following an on-the-job accident may be legally subject to dismissal "for cause". They also may sometimes be held ineligible to receive certain benefits/promotion. Also, Unemployment insurance or Workers’ Compensation can be lost!
For post-accident alcohol testing, DOT required that the employer document reasons for the delay if the alcohol test is not performed within 2 hours.
Following a test violation, return for duty test is conducted to ensure that the donor is drug free prior to being reinstated in the testing designated position. Passing a drug test as a condition of a "Return to Duty" is required of DOT-regulated employees. Under DOT rules , return for duty test is conducted only after the employer received a letter indicating that employee has complied with the Substance Abuse Professional ( SAP) recommendations. Return to Duty drug tests are essentially "pre-employment" tests. The suspended employee is re-applying for the position they lost.
Follow-up testing is conducted to ensure that the donor remains drug free after being reinstated to testing designation position. Usually the SAP establishes the follow-up testing program – frequency, type and duration of testing and must include at least six tests during the first 12 months after return to duty. Follow up testing under DOT can last up to 60 months.
Hair has longest window of detection of all specimens, potentially measuring drug use during last several months. Based on the long detection window, hair is the best suited for pre-employment and random testing. Hair is not suited for reasonable suspicion/cause and post –accident testing because it takes 7-10 days for drug /metabolite to appear in the hair. Also, hair testing is effective for purposes such as a child protection, aftercare monitoring and forensic evaluation in which a long window of detection is desirable.
Head hair is preferred, since collection of body hair is more invasive. Hair is collected in the rear of crown and close to scalp/root as possible. If head hair of least 1.0 cm in length is not available, then body hair is taken. Occupational Care US is collected hair specimens for drug analysis (Panel 5).
Using blood for drug testing are invasive (venipuncture) and more expensive then urine testing. Windows of detection drug testing in blood specimens is shorter than in urine.
However, DOT rule allows blood alcohol (ethyl) testing in reasonable suspicion and post-accident testing in limited circumstances (US Coast Guard, Railroad Administration and others). Also, drug blood testing can be part of clinical evaluation to determine if the individual uses illicit drug or not.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). SAMHSA is the Federal agency which is accountable for improving the quality and availability of prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation services in order to reduce illness, death, disability, sickness and cost to society resulting from substance abuse and mental illnesses. The Federal Drug-Free Workplace Program is a comprehensive program to address illicit drug use by federal employees. The Division of Workplace Programs oversees HHS-certified laboratories that perform forensic drug testing for federal agencies and federally regulated industries.
In 1970, the United States Congress and President Richard Nixon created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a national public health agency dedicated to the basic proposition that no worker should have to choose between their life and their job. The OSHA law makes it clear that the right to a safe workplace is a basic human right.
Since OSHA’s first day on the job, the agency has delivered remarkable progress for our nation. Workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths have fallen dramatically. Looking to the future, OSHA is committed to protecting workers from toxic chemicals and deadly safety hazards at work, ensuring that vulnerable workers in high-risk jobs have access to critical information and education about job hazards, and providing employers with vigorous compliance assistance to promote best practices that can save lives and health.