Implementing Non-DOT and DOT drug testing policies in the workplace
Implementing Non-DOT and DOT drug testing policies in the workplace can be greatly beneficial to the employer, employee and general public. The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) regulations, otherwise referred to as 49 CFR Part 40, are considered the “Gold Standard” in the drug and alcohol testing industry. The procedures set forth in the regulations are straight forward in regards to implementing and maintaining a DOT or Regulated drug testing program. The guidelines also assist in the procedural requirements resulting from positive drug or alcohol test results. As such, many companies adopt 49 CFR Part 40 regulations and procedures for their own Non-DOT or Non-Regulated drug and alcohol testing programs but choose to expand upon Federal regulations to include testing for different types of drugs, additional reasons to test and increase the employee testing pool
Currently the DOT policy is lacking or perhaps a little outdated when it comes to the types of drugs employers are allowed to test for in their employees. Currently, the DOT regulations require employers to test for Amphetamines, Cocaine, Marijuana, Opiates (Codeine, Morphine and Heroin) and PCP. However, other forms of drug use are on the rise and are currently going undetected by companies only testing under DOT Regulations.
Here are some mind-blowing statistics:
- “The United States makes up 5% of the world’s population and consumes 75% of the world’s prescription drugs.” – Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse
- “In the US alone, more than 15 million people abuse prescription drugs.” – Source: Foundation for a Drug-Free World
- “Most abused prescription drugs fall under 3 categories: painkillers – 5.1 million; tranquilizers/depressants – 2.2 million; stimulants – 1.1 million.” – Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse
With this data in mind, one might think that the DOT would expand their drug testing panel requirements to include Oxycodone, Hydrocodone and Benzodiazepines (Benzos). Oxycodone and Hydrocodone are considered “Synthetic Opiates” and are not picked up under the Opiates in the DOT’s 5-panel. Benzodiazepines include Xanax, Valium, Klonopin and Ativan, none of which are tested under Regulated testing guidelines.
If employers are going to succeed in their efforts in creating a drug-free workplace, they need to implement drug testing programs to include more than the minimum 5-panel required by DOT regulations. Implementing Non-DOT and DOT drug testing policies in the workplace will allow employers to expand upon their testing requirements and test all employees for more drug types and for more reasons. Both Non-DOT and DOT drug testing programs would greatly serve to protect employers, and improve overall safety for their employees and general public.
Kenneth Gladman says
That is absolutely astonishing that the U.S consumes that much of the world’s prescription drugs. I have personally known some people who have abused them and it is dangerous. I would certainly run some drug tests periodically.
This article contains false information that is out dated. As of january 1 of 2018 the substances tested for include the drugs of abuse listed.
Jennie Lee-Pace says
You are correct that this blog article contains out dated information. The article was written back in 2016 and yes, the drugs of abuse being tested changed as of the first of this year.
David Gaines says
In my opinion the most fair and effective way for companies to be TRULY a Drug Free Workplace is for companies (1) per year be required to Drug Screen every staff member employed with -in (30) Days for companies that have less than 100 employee’s.
What justifiable reason that companies refuse to this form of testing. This method of testing truly acknowledges the company complying that Drugs Dont Work.
Example: Let’s say that it’s a weekend holiday and a group of employees get together at an outing there are 10 employee’s at this outing that are employed as DOT Regulated employee’s that carry High Sensitive Job descriptions. All 10 employee’s are consuming illegal substances. Tuesday all (10) report to work and 2 were selected to be randomly tested. That leaves (8) violated employee’s able to preform high sensitivity duties that jeopardizes themselves and the general public.
So this form of advertising that your company is PROUD to be a Drug Free Workplace yet companies REFUSE to TRULY find out.
So the TRUE MEANING established here is all companies are truly not Drug Free and DRUGS DO WORK at our company. The metaphor here should read as follows. “IT’S OK TO CONSUME ILLIGAL DRUGS WHILE BEING EMPLOYED FOR OUR COMPANY JUST MAKE SURE WHEN YOU ARE SIGNALED OUT THAT YOU ARE CLEAN.
OPEN CHALLENGE TO ALL COMPANIES DRUG TEST YOUR ENTIRE STAFF WITHIN (30) DAYS AND LETS TRULY FIND OUT IF DRUGS DONT WORK.
In the Example above is a clear indication that even though the company is aware that all (10) were at the social event and when the (2) employee’s that were singled out FAILED the Drug Screen the company keeps a BLIND EYE to have the other (8) tested. So the company is saying Hey Johnny and the other (7) employee’s is even through there is strong suspicion that all (8) of you would possibly FAIL a Drug Screen ITS OK FELLOWS YOU GUYS CAN OPERATE THE CRANE.
Jennie Lee-Pace says
Thank you for your insights. Pre-employment drug testing is a requirement for all new employees, so everyone is tested equally in that sense. Random is just that, random. There are specific agency requirements on the number of testing that should be done annually and employers must meet those annual testing requirements. Many companies already feel the volume of testing required by their DOT agency is too high. These same companies may argue, annual testing for every employee, safety sensitive or not, would be very expensive.
John Dade says
To David Gaines
Well my company does a basic UA test on new employees. But, not everyone has a safety sensitive job. So these employees get the one test unless they have an accident or come under reasonable suspicion. However, we have a Field Service Group that are subjected to 5 levels of testing. We have DOT, which is only required for our employees who work on a pipeline. DCCHA (basic UA) is given for the new employees and for field service random tests. NASAP (North American Substance Abuse Program) are given to our FS employees who are required to get into the different sites that require this test also carry random tests. NASAP does not allow for extended time or redraws. DCCOF (Oral Fluid Substance Abuse Policy) this is also for our FS employees who need to get into DOW who are the only site requiring this test for us. Which also brings random tests. Our company is only 85 employees these tests are very expensive testing everyone is a no go. First off its not needed. I would not test office staff or machinist unless they developed issues or had accidents. Secondly I have a pool of 17 that are drug tested according to the 5 policies. Which must also comply with NCMS who requires 50% of that pool be tested on DOT and NON-DOT each year trust me that’s a shit load of testing. Understand I still have a business to run getting a guy out of the field 1 hour, over to the collection point 1 hour, waiting time about 1 hour, guy back to work 1 hr. I have to pay him for all that time and the drug test which requires an alcohol test along with the drug test. So at what point is there too much drug testing? If you go into more that one facility your going to face more than one type of drug testing. In a word its bull shit.
Jennie Lee-Pace says
Wow. That sounds like a complicated program to track. I am encouraged by the DOTs recent decision to explore and allow for saliva testing (oral fluid). However, the DOT is probably another 12 months from issuing the revisions to the regulations to allow it. Saliva testing may help simplify things. Saliva testing would be faster and less complicated to administer, which helps get people back to work much faster than urine testing. I’m not familiar with the other agencies and requirements you mention, so I am not sure if they allow for oral fluid testing. If they do, seems like you could streamline things a bit. However, I would imagine the expense part would remain unchanged.