Under the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act, the Department of Transportation is required to implement Drug and Alcohol testing programs within various transportation industries. Drug and alcohol testing has been required by the FRA for railroad industry employees since 1986. The general purpose of this program is to prevent accidents and casualties in railroad operations that result from impairment of employees by alcohol and/or drugs.
For purposes of Part 219, FRA has designated its safety-sensitive employees to be those who perform service covered under the hours of service laws (covered service) and effective on June 12, 2017, Maintenance of Way employees as defined as “Roadway Worker in Part 214.7 will also be subject to Part 219 requirements. On June 12, 2017, the new term “regulated service” will include all hours of service employees and roadway workers, inclusive of “regulated service” contractors and also individuals who may volunteer to perform regulated service duties for a railroad. These generally include train and engine service employees involved in the movement of trains or engines (e.g., conductors, brakemen, switchmen, engineers, locomotive hostlers/helpers), dispatching employees who issue mandatory directives (e.g., train dispatchers, control operators), signal employees who inspect, repair or maintain signal systems and maintenance of way employees performing duties of roadway workers as defined in Part 214.7.
Alcohol – DOT alcohol tests can use either saliva or breath (with PAS devices) but confirmation tests must use EBT devices.
Drugs – As specified in DOT regulations 49 CFR part 40 with the Cut Off levels listed in DOT regulations 49 CFR part 40; the following substances will be tested for:
**Some common names for the new semi-synthetic opioids include OxyContin®, Percodan®, Percocet®, Vicodin®, Lortab®, Norco®, Dilaudid®, and Exalgo®.
The DOT defines Pre-employment testing as prior to the first time any employee performs safety-sensitive functions for any employer (including a single owner operator). Part 40 states that the driver/safety-sensitive employee shall undergo testing for controlled substances as a condition of employment.
Furthermore, no employer shall allow a driver, who the employer intends to hire or use, to perform safety-sensitive functions unless the employer has received a controlled substances test result from the MRO or C/TPA indicating a verified negative test result for that driver/employee.
A SAP (Substance Abuse Professional) is required when any safety sensitive employee violates any DOT drug and alcohol regulations. Once the violation has occurred, the employee must not perform any DOT safety-sensitive duties for any employer until and unless he/she completes the SAP evaluation, referral, and education/treatment process set forth in this subpart and in applicable DOT agency regulations.
Employers wishing to permit the employee to return to the performance of safety-sensitive functions, you must ensure that the employee takes a return-to-duty test. This test cannot occur until after the SAP has determined that the employee has successfully complied with prescribed education and/or treatment. The employee must have a negative drug test result and/or an alcohol test with an alcohol concentration of less than 0.02 before resuming performance of safety-sensitive duties.
A SAP or MRO must not make a “fitness for duty” determination as part of this re-evaluation unless required to do so under an applicable DOT agency regulation. It is the employer’s responsibility to decide whether to put the employee back to work in a safety-sensitive position.
Follow-up testing is required for drivers who:
Follow up testing is prescribed by the substance abuse professional (SAP) for a minimum of 6 directly observed tests in 12 months, but can be extended an additional four years.
Yes, the following examples are allowed by the DOT as exceptions to the pre-employment drug testing requirement:
An employer is not required to administer a controlled substances pre-employment test required by this section if:
If an employer chooses to exercise the above referenced exception must contact the controlled substances testing program(s) in which the driver participates or participated and shall obtain and retain from the testing program(s) the following information:
Employers may choose but are not required to, conduct pre-employment alcohol testing under this part. However, if an employer chooses to conduct pre-employment alcohol testing, it must comply with the following requirements:
For information regarding the effects of drug abuse – Click Here
For information on a drug free work place – Click Here
For information on substance abuse programs – Click Here
For information on DOT Drug / Alcohol Testing requirements – Click Here