Warnings and Practices for Department of Transportation Drug Testing

If you are just entering the transport industry, random drug and alcohol programs might be a little problem. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the best warnings and practices to help you with your DOT or Department of Transportation, random alcohol, and drug screening programs. If you are new to FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) or DOT alcohol and drug test programs, you may wonder why these tests are necessary. Testing is an excellent tool for companies for different reasons, including:

  • The deterrent of alcohol and drug abuse in the workplace
  • Save people’s lives and avoid injuries
  • Allow workers to easily avoid or say no to illegal substance use since the screening is done at their workplace
  • Reduce company liability
  • Helps facilitate and identify treatment for people who are abusing or using illegal substances

Not only that, but random screening is also considered as the best and fair way to test employees without stepping on their fundamental human rights. Now that we know why this procedure is an excellent idea, let us quickly cover who needs to undergo this procedure.

To find out more about the dangers of substance abuse, click here for more information.

Who needs to be tested?

Regardless of position in the company or job titles, employees need to be tested based on their function or work. If employees perform safety-sensitive tasks, irrespective of their job title (whether they are the president, supervisor, volunteer, or contract worker), they need to be in the pool of employees selected randomly to undergo the test.

If their operation has two parts, a Department of Transportation and a non-department part, only workers performing department safety-sensitive tasks need to be in the random pool. This Department of Transportation random screening pool should be kept separate from the private company or non-departmental screening programs.

These pools should also be completely independent. People will want to make sure that they keep the lists up to date. Best practices are just before performing the selection process; they refresh the screening pool to include all safety-sensitive workers subject to Department of Transport random illegal substance test, excluding people not subjected to random drug screening and who are no longer with the organization.

Not that we know who will need to undergo the test, the next thing people need to know is how to select employees randomly. This type of test should just be what the name suggests – random. As a serious warning, draws made by randomly picking names or numbers are not an acceptable selection process.

These techniques of choosing people are easily influenced, unconsciously or consciously, by the people involved. Employees will want to make sure that they use valid methods backed up by scientific methods of selecting employees from screening.

Computerized random number generator, if random number tables, traceable to certain employees, are all acceptable by governing bodies. Third-party administrators or TPA should be able to let people know how they select this type of drug screening from the pool of people so that they can make sure that it is legit and valid. In the end, people want to make sure that everybody included in the pool has an equal chance of getting chosen and tested in every selection period.

For more information about this topic, check out websites like https://harbor-house.org/guide-to-dot-drug-test to find out more.

Why is it effective?

This type of drug assessment is pretty effective because of its random element. If employees never know who could get selected and tested, when deterrence factors that programs bring to the table are heightened. While employees know that they can be selected and tested, companies don’t want them to know the exact date and time of the assessment.

If it happens, companies could have a little problem where people may be abusing or using illegal substances, but just now, when the scheduled screening arrived. To avoid or at least minimize the possibility of workers finding out the time and date, and find ways to cheat the process, follow practices mentioned below:

Spread the schedule of the test throughout the year in an unpredictable pattern

If companies are concerned that they might not meet their annual test rate requirement, they can increase their tests but needs to avoid doing so because this removes their most significant advantage, the element of surprise.

Conduct employment drug screens at different times of the day. It means that they need to do the procedure after the workers perform their safety-sensitive tasks, and not just at the beginning or end of every shift. Changing the time is recommended by the industry-specific regulations.

Don’t be predictable because you don’t want workers became aware that the people on the second shift of the last day of the week will be selected and tested, or other specifics similar to the one mentioned above.

One common question people ask is why employees get tested for this procedure more than once. The selection pool needs to be reset every testing period, that is why there is a big chance that some workers can be chosen several times, while other employees may never be selected.

If it happens, this is just the law of small numbers in effect. It is no different than a 50% career hitter but is just above the average statistics. The probability of employees getting selected in one schedule is the same as getting chosen in another schedule. These types of events need to be independent if the selection process is really random.

From time to time, companies may have workers who are unavailable because of various reasons for the scheduled time or date of their test. If it happens, the company needs to have a proper policy set. If a worker is chosen for the screening is unable to attend because of reasons like a long-term illness or sudden injury, document the cause, and make up for the shortcoming by choosing someone else or choosing extras for every selection cycle.

Companies can also make up the deficit during the next cycle. If workers are selected for the procedure but do not receive notice because they have their day off during that day, test them on their next shift within the same cycle. Not workers should be excused from the screening because of operational issues or problems.

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Categorized as Health

By Finn

Finn Oliver Edwards: Finn, a pediatric nurse, shares child health tips, parenting advice, and preventive measures for common childhood illnesses.