Although most specimen collections go smoothly, as a professional specimen collector in the Department of Transportation (DOT) drug testing process you may sometimes be confronted by uncooperative donors. In these cases, it is important to remember how to handle and document the situation.
DOT-covered safety-sensitive employees are required by Federal Regulation to cooperate with the testing process. Failure to cooperate with the testing process may result in the test being deemed a “refusal”. In most cases, a test refusal carries the same consequences as a positive test. The collector should warn an uncooperative donor of the potential consequences for refusing to cooperate.
In the case of a test refusal, the collector must specifically document in the Remarks section of the Federal Custody and Control Form (CCF) the details of what happened that constitute this situation being deemed a refusal.
What exactly constitutes ‘lack of cooperation’ that may lead to a test refusal? The DOT rules and guidance provide several examples of actions by an employee that may lead to the test being documented and reported as a “test refusal”. Some examples include:
- The employee refuses to empty pockets when instructed to do so by the collector.
- The employee refuses to wash their hands prior to the collection when instructed to do so.
- The employee refuses to participate in a direct observation collection when one is required, as well as the employee refuses to follow the specific instructions regarding the movement of clothing during a direct observation collection.
- The employee behaves in a confrontational manner that is disruptive to the testing process.
However, the DOT rules specifically note that the following uncooperative behavior is not a refusal to test:
- The employee refuses to sign Step 5 of the CCF.
- The employee refuses to initial the seals on the specimen bottles.
These are just a few examples of situations that collectors must know how to respond to and to document in the DOT testing process. These, and many others, are covered in detail in AlcoPro’s DOT-compliant Collector Training courses.
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