Have you ever received a drug test result that said dilute? Applicants and employees who know they are going to test positive may attempt to tamper with their sample to pass the test. The most common way of doing this is by diluting their urine, leading to a dilute drug test result.
Diluting urine means that the donor drinks a significant quantity of water before providing a specimen, and their body is overly hydrated. However, it is possible that a donor doesn’t do this with the intent of cheating the system and simply drinks a lot of water in general.
It is widely known that some donors try to dilute their urine because they consumed drugs and are trying to flush out their system. This practice will result in a dilute drug test result.
What can be done?
A dilute drug test result can still be used. If it is positive dilute, then it is positive and the employer should proceed accordingly. However, If it is negative, the employer does have a few options to help in making the best determination.
An employer can require that anyone who has a negative dilute drug test be retested. The employer can specify that the donor retest via another urine drug test or can choose another testing method that may be harder to cheat. Keep in mind that when testing a DOT donor, it may be necessary to retest that donor under a Non-DOT policy if choosing another testing method. This would mean that the test, if positive, would not report to the clearinghouse as DOT only allows for DOT urine samples. The employer can choose other options like a hair follicle or saliva drug test, which are both conducted under direct observation. Contact our office for help in developing a testing protocol for a dilute drug test.
Illicit drug users who test negative dilute often slip through the system and get hired more often than one would think. Sometimes, these users will get caught through random testing or reasonable suspicion testing. Don’t risk it! The safety of the workplace should come first! We are here to help provide the resources needed to promote safety in the workplace. Contact us for answers to any questions!
New forms are on the way! We have been working with our lab partners since last year to provide a smooth transition. We have already ordered a batch for you, but the lab is limiting orders to no more than 25 per batch. If you need more, please email email@example.com to order. The old forms can be used after the expiration date, but the collector will need to complete the attached memorandum for record (MFR). If you do not have your new forms by the expiration, please send a copy of the MFR with the donor to the collection site. You may also want to include the instructions below:
The labs do not charge for DOT drug testing forms, but please limit your orders to a 1 year supply as the labs are already back ordered and experiencing some delays fulfilling orders. Please note that we do offer an electronic form option at no additional charge. The electronic form option allows the use of the new forms eliminating the need to wait for the paper forms. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
August 29, 2021 – last date to use the ‘old Federal CCF’.
August 30, 2021 – date required for using the ‘New Federal revised CCF’. If you use the ‘old CCF’, you must complete a Memorandum for the Record (MFR). Otherwise, the test will be canceled.
What Are The Changes?
The revised CCF includes an option for oral fluid testing for certain federal testing agencies and divisions (does not include USDOT at this time)
Revisions under Step 1 for State/CDL information
Revisions under Step 1 for Collector, “Other” Contact Information, such as email address, etc.
How to Use the MFR With An ‘Old CCF’
Complete the MFR (A MFR can be obtained from NTA)
Insert the completed MFR along with ‘Copy 1’ of the CCF in the back pouch of the specimen bag to go the lab
Insert the sealed specimen bottles in the front pouch, seal the specimen bag and forward to the lab for processing
How do we use the oral fluid testing?
Oral fluid testing is not allowed for DOT regulated employers yet. They are still working on reviewing it as a viable option. This was done for the other federal testing agencies and divisions that share this form with DOT regulated employers.
How long does it take to get the forms?
The labs are currently short staffed and backlogged with orders. It is taking anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks to receive forms. In the interim, you can use the MFR and continue testing as normal or you can use electronic chains through one of our solutions. If you do not wish to schedule your donors online for testing, you can have them call our office and we can do it for you until your new chains arrive.
The collectors should know how to use the MFR. However, not all collectors are trained the same. Feel free to share the “How to Use the MFR with An ‘Old CCF” with the collector. This will help ensure you don’t have any issues at the collection site.
What if the collector refuses to do the collection using the old chain?
Call our office immediately, while still at the collection site. This will allow us to speak to the collector and attempt to resolve the concern and provide the collector with proper instruction.
Why weren’t we already shipped the new form?
The new forms weren’t made available until mid-June based on the DOTs recommendation to the labs. Since they were made available we have been ordering them for our clients, but the labs are still backordered. Please keep in mind every DOT company is having to get new forms. It is a bit of an undertaking to get it complete. We are working very closely with our lab partners to ensure a smooth transition.
Each USDOT Agency, USCG, FMCSA, FRA, FTA, FAA, and PHMSA, has a specific set of rules and guidelines dictating random ratios, policy development, training, and educational requirements for employees and supervisors for that particular agency. Please refer to the website listed below for the DOT agency to whom your company must report. Or, contact your NTA, Inc representative for assistance.
49 CFR, Part 40 guidelines for BAT, STT, Drug Screen Collector, MRO Laboratory, and SAP functions are the same for most USDOT agencies. All DOT agencies test for the following drugs: Amphetamine (methamphetamine, MDMA, MDA) Cannabinoids, Cocaine, Opioids (codeine, heroin, morphine, oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone) PCP (Phencyclidine) 6MAM (6 Acetylmorphine).
For this overview, “employee” is defined as an individual who performs safety-sensitive functions as outlined in the regulations of the DOT agency or agencies to which a company must report. USCG is now under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security; however, the testing program still operates under Part 40 guidelines.
I. What are the General Responsibilities of Employers Under These Regulations? (49CFR, Subpart B)
As an employer, you are responsible for meeting all applicable requirements and procedures of this
You are responsible for all actions of your officials, representatives, and agents (including service agents) in carrying out the requirements of the DOT agency
All agreements and arrangements, written or unwritten, between and among employers and service agents concerning the implementation of DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements are deemed, as a matter of law, to require compliance with all applicable provisions of this part and DOT agency drug and alcohol testing Compliance with these provisions is a material term of all such agreements and arrangements.
II. Fines and Penalties
Violations of any part of 49CFR Part 40 and specific DOT agency regulations may result in significant fines and penalties. For a list of recent fines and penalties, contact your NTA representative.
III. Medical Review Officer
49CFR, 121 outlines who is qualified to act as an MRO, what fundamental knowledge is required of the MRO, Qualification Training, and Continuing Education.
All DOT drug screens, negative and positive, must be verified by a qualified MRO.
Only laboratories certified by HHS under the National Laboratory Certification Program (NLCP) are allowed to conduct DOT urine Drug Screens per 49 CFR, Part 40. 81. Examples include: LabCorp, Quest, Med-Tox, and Abbott.
V. Required Forms for DOT Drug Testing
All DOT required drug tests must be conducted on a Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control
DOT will not recognize non-DOT drug screens for DOT drug testing
IMPORTANT: All DOT employers are required to use the revised Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form effective January 1, 2018.
Types of Required Testing
Pre-Employment:A drug test must be conducted on safety-sensitive employees defined by the DOT modality with results known before the performing safety-sensitive functions the first A Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form must be used. NOTE: DOT does not require a pre-employment breath alcohol test, only a drug test.
Random:Drug testing is required at a ratio set by the DOT Agency under which the employer operates. It is normally either 25% or 50%, depending on the agency. Alcohol Testing, spread reasonably throughout the year, may be required at 10% or higher for some DOT agencies. Quarterly is most often used; however, some companies prefer monthly. Once the employee is notified that he/she has been selected, he/she must proceed to the collection site
Post Accident:Drug test is required within 32 hours, alcohol test is required within 2-8 IMPORTANT: Each DOT agency outlines the situations in which a DOT drug/alcohol test is required. Please locate the regulatory reference that applies to the DOT agency your company is subject to. Contact NTA if you need assistance in locating the specific regulation.
Reasonable Suspicion:Must be determined by a trained supervisor. An Observed Behavior Documentation form must be completed before requesting the test from the employee and placed in his/her file. The employee must be informed of the reasons for the testing request. The supervisor must accompany the employee to the collection
Return to Duty:Must be performed in accordance with 49CFR Part 40, Subpart This test is performed before an employee may resume safety-sensitive functions after substance abuse treatment. Effective August 2009, all Return to Duty Tests must be directly observed.
Follow Up:Must be performed in accordance with 49CFR Part 40, Subpart O. At least 6 unannounced follow up tests must be performed during the first 12 months an employee is back at work after substance abuse treatment Effective August 2009, all Follow-Up Tests must be directly observed.
VII. Additional Required Components for an Employer’s DOT Drug/Alcohol Testing Program
A written policy that meets the requirements of each specific DOT agency must be in A copy of this policy must be distributed to all employees who perform safety-sensitive functions as defined by the DOT agency. A signed receipt of this policy must be on file for DOT review as well as the policy itself. NTA will provide clients with a DOT policy when the account is set up. Each employee must receive a copy of this policy, as well as sign and date the employee receipt of policy. Keep the signed and dated receipt of policy on file.
The employer must provide educational materials on the DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing regulations to all This information must be given to each employee and a signed receipt must be kept on file for DOT review, in addition to at least one copy of the booklet. NTA provides clients with qualifying educational materials for employees.
The employer must have on file the name, address, and contact information of a qualified Substance Abuse Professional (SAP). DOT does not require that the employer keep an employee or pay for treatment after a positive That is the decision of the employer and should be outlined in the substance abuse policy. However, the regulations require that all employees be referred to a qualified substance abuse professional, even if terminated. The employer must document the referral.
The employer must ensure that all drug screen collectors and alcohol technicians are The best way to do this is to request copies of certification from all collectors and alcohol technicians.
Reasonable Suspicion Supervisor Training must be received by all supervisors of employees performing safety-sensitive functions. This is mandatory 2-hour training that must address signs and symptoms of alcohol and drug abuse as well as documenting and handling reasonable suspicion testing NTA offers this training via regional seminars and on-site or written materials that can be purchased and used in- house.
What Substances Does DOT Test For?
DOT testing is conducted for both alcohol and drugs. The drugs that DOT tests look for include the following:
Amphetamines (including methamphetamine)
Opiates (including heroin, codeine, and morphine)
According to numbers provided by the DOT, marijuana and amphetamines were the most commonly found substances as a result of DOT testing for commercial motor vehicle drivers in 2015. Overall, positive results remain low for commercial drivers. In 2015, just 1.85% of DOT test results were positive; however, that is still more than the DOT would like to see to ensure transportation safety across the country.
What Conduct is Prohibited by DOT Regulations?
The purpose of DOT drug testing requirements is to ensure that safety-sensitive employees do not use alcohol or illicit drugs while performing safety-sensitive functions. As part of that effort, some behavior is specifically prohibited. Safety-sensitive employees cannot report for duty or remain on duty under any of the circumstances detailed below.
Under the influence: Employees with a blood alcohol concentration of .04 or greater are not allowed to perform their duties. Most employees cannot use alcohol within four hours of reporting for service. For flight attendants and crew members, that is extended to eight hours.
Drug use: Employees may not report for duty or stay on duty if they have used any controlled substance, specifically illicit drugs. Some controlled substances may be allowed if they are being used under the direction of a medical provider.
Refusing a test: Employees that refuse to submit to a drug or alcohol test will be dismissed from duties. It is also prohibited to interfere with the testing process or with a collected specimen.
DOT drug and alcohol testing is a federal requirement that helps ensure the safety of thousands of workers and individuals across the country. Understanding the requirements and the process helps both employers and employees remain in compliance and keep each other safe.
What’s the best tool employers have for deterring drug and alcohol use in the workplace? Random Testing. And, here are just a few of the reasons why: ·Saves lives and prevents injuries. ·Helps employers identify workers with substance abuse issues and facilitate their treatment. ·Allows employees to easily say no to illegal drug use. “No, thanks. They drug test at work.” ·Reduces employer liability. ·It is a fair way of testing.
The purpose of this publication is to help DOT covered employers and service agents in implementing and evaluating their own random testing programs. While DOT regulations serve as a mandatory minimum and do not prevent additional practices that serve the effectiveness of a testing program, don’t forget that some DOT covered employers may also have extra requirements from industry specific regulations.
What follows are best practices as identified by representatives from the Office of the Secretary’s Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), and the United States Coast Guard (USCG).
While actually reading the regulations is very important, we hope this guide provides an additional tool for implementing an effective random testing program.
II. Random testing is required for safety-sensitive employees
Each DOT Agency and the USCG has regulations that require certain employers to implement a random testing program.
FAA – Aviation
14 CFR Part 120, Subpart E, section 120.109(b) 14 CFR Part 120, Subpart F, section 120.217(c)
FMCSA – Motor Carrier
49 CFR Part 382.305
FRA – Railroad
49 CFR Part 219.601 and 219.607
FTA – Transit
49 CFR Part 655.45
PHMSA – Pipelines
49 CFR Part 199.105
USCG – Maritime
49 CFR Title 46 Part 16.230
Note: FRA requires employers to submit their random plans for approval.
III. Establishing Random Testing Rates
The DOT Agency that regulates a specific transportation industry sets the random testing rate. The Administrator of each DOT Agency is authorized to either increase or decrease the random drug and alcohol testing rates. To establish an appropriate rate, Administrators use information reported from the drug and alcohol Management Information System (MIS) form required by 49 CFR Part 40 and other indicators. The rates are always effective starting January 1 of the calendar year. To check for the current rate, visit ODAPC’s website at: http://www.dot.gov/ost/dapc/rates.html .
The random rates are annual minimum requirements. So if a DOT Agency requires a drug testing rate of 50% and an alcohol testing rate of 10%, then an employer with 100 safety-sensitive employees would have to ensure that 50 or more random drug tests and 10 or more random alcohol tests were conducted during the calendar year.
IV. Setting-Up a Random Pool of Employees
A. Who gets tested?
Regardless of job titles like supervisor, volunteer, contractor, owner operators, etc., people are chosen for testing based on their job function (known as a safety-sensitive function) not their occupational title. Only DOT safety-sensitive employees may be part of the DOT random pool or pools. Remember your DOT testing program must always be separate and distinct from your private company or non-DOT testing program. That goes for your random testing pools, too. DOT and non-DOT random testing pools must be completely separate.
Best Practice: Just prior to performing a random selection, refresh the pool to include all safety- sensitive employees subject to DOT random testing, and exclude those not subject to DOT random testing.
B. Can an employer regulated by different DOT agencies put its employees in the same random pools?
Yes. Employers and Consortia/Third Party Administrators (C/TPAs) subject to more than one DOT Agency drug and alcohol testing rule may combine covered DOT safety-sensitive employees into a single random pool. However, companies doing so must test at or above the highest minimum annual random testing rates established by the DOT Agencies under whose jurisdiction the employees fall. So, if you have FMCSA regulated- and FRA regulated-employees in the same pool, and FMCSA has a 50% testing rate and FRA has a 25% rate, you must test the pool at the 50% minimum rate.
Note: PHMSA and USCG do not authorize random alcohol testing for employees in the pipeline and maritime industries. So if employees perform only pipeline duties or maritime duties, they cannot be in any DOT-regulated random alcohol testing pool.
Of course employers may decide to separate the pools by specific regulated transportation industry – such as a separate pool for truck drivers and a separate pool for transit workers. Each pool must be tested at the required DOT Agency rate for that industry.
C. Does an employee performing duties covered by more than one DOT Agency need to be in multiple pools?
An employee performing duties subject to more than one DOT Agency’s regulations must be randomly tested at the percentage rate established for the calendar year by the DOT Agency regulating more than 50 percent of the employee’s function. So if you have an employee who drives your trucks 75 percent of the time and operates your transit busses 25 percent of the time, that employee needs to be in the FMCSA-regulated pool.
Remember: All other testing (e.g., pre-employment, post-accident, reasonable suspicion) is regulated under the Agency that regulates the function the employee was performing at the time of the event. Wreck the transit bus; you are subject to post-accident testing under FTA regulations even if you are in the municipality’s FMCSA random pool.
D. How are employees selected for testing?
Everyone in the pool must have an equal chance of being selected and tested in each selection period. Selections can be by employee name, identifying title, or with FRA regulated testing, a group that is clearly delineated in company policy or random plan.
Be sure to use a scientifically valid method to select employees for testing, which may include: use of a random-number table, a computer-based random number generator that’s traceable to a specific employee (or with FRA, a group).
Note: In the railroad industry, it is a common practice to select employees by the train number rather than specific employee. This would mean that any covered employee working on that train on a specific day (whether it was their regularly assigned position or not) would be tested. Only the FRA permits this practice.
Warning: Unacceptable random selection practices include selecting numbers from a hat, rolling dice, throwing darts, picking cards, or selecting ping pong balls.
E. How often should selections and tests take place?
What makes random testing so effective is the element of surprise. While employees know they will be tested, they are never quite sure of when, so random selections and testing should be performed at least quarterly. Some employers are selecting and testing more frequently. We think that is a good idea.
Note: If you think you might not meet your annual testing rate requirement, increase your testing. But, in an effective random program, testing must be spread equally throughout the year.
Best practices: Here are smart things you can do to figure out when to test:
·Spread testing dates reasonably throughout the year in a non-predictable pattern.
·Conduct random drug tests anytime employees are on duty or while performing safety-sensitive duties. See your Agency regulations for your specific industry requirements of when to conduct testing. FRA has “hours of service” testing considerations.
·Conduct random alcohol tests just before, during, or just after the employee performs a safety-sensitive job, as described in your industry specific regulations.
·Each workday or weekend, you can enhance the non-predictability of your program by conducting tests at the start, middle, or end of each shift. The worse thing that could happen is for employees to say, “Yup, the last Friday of every month the second shift gets tested.”
A. Why are some people randomly tested more than once?
“Is the boss singling me out? I just did a random last month? Joe, never gets tested? I don’t think this thing is random at all!”
Those are not uncommon concerns among some safety-sensitive employees, and many employers have been challenged in court to demonstrate that their programs are truly random. The reality is that in a truly random selection process, a high probability exists that some employees will be selected several times while others may never be selected.
Why? Because after each selection, the employee’s name is returned to the same pool, and he or she becomes just as likely as anyone else to be selected next time.
B. How are employees notified to report for a test?
Every employee should be discreetly notified according to your company’s policy, but random testing must also be conducted in strict confidence with a limited number of people having knowledge of the selection list.
Why? Because it helps maintain the element of surprise.
Best Practices: Every employer should have procedures in place to ensure that each employee receives no advanced notice of selection. But, be sure to allow sufficient time for supervisors to schedule for the administration of the test and to ensure that collection sites are available for testing.
Remember: Employers must provide appropriate privacy for each employee the fact that he or she is being tested.
C. What happens if a selected employee is not available for testing? Employers need to have policies in place about what to do when employees are unavailable for testing.
· If an employee selected for testing is known to be unavailable during the selection cycle (legitimate extended absence, long-term illness, etc.), document the reason and make-up the rate shortfall by making another selection, or make an extra selection during the next selection cycle.
· An employee is selected for testing but has not received notice since it is his day off, test the employee during his or her next shift within the same selection cycle.
· No employee should be excused from testing because of operational difficulties. See your industry specific regulations and interpretations for legitimate exceptions.
· Once the employee is notified to report for testing and the test does not occur, the opportunity for the random testing is over. There is no second “bite of the apple.”
D. What must employees do when notified of a random test?
When an employee is notified, he or she must proceed immediately to the collection site. Contrary to the urban legends circulating among some employees, immediately does not mean two hours. Immediately means that after notification, all the employee’s actions must lead to an immediate specimen collection
Why? For the integrity of the testing process.
Best Practice: Many employers develop random testing procedures or policies that clearly state what activities are acceptable after notification: for instance, which safety-sensitive duties Agency regulations permit them to complete. If an employee is notified of a random test while working “off site” or “on the road,” the company’s policies should spell-out exactly what the employee must do before resuming safety-sensitive functions. That way there is no misunderstanding among employees about what is expected.
Note to Service Agents and Consortia/Third Party Administrators: Owner-operators and other employers who themselves perform safety-sensitive duties present a special notification challenge. So, if you are a service agent or C/TPA providing random selections and notices to an owner-operator, you should have written procedures on how they are notified and instructed after notification on when to report to a specific collection site. You must also have a written policy about what constitutes a refusal to test if they fail to appear for a test when notified. You should also provide these written items to these owner- operators and self-employed safety-sensitive employees.
VI. Maintaining and Evaluating Your Random Program
It is the best practice for an employer to document everything on the entire random testing process. This includes the numbers, names drawn, dates and times of notification, dates and times of collections, why a selected employee was not tested during a selection cycle, etc. If you’re not sure, document it!
Best Practices: · Service agents and C/TPAs providing random selection and testing services to employers should monitor on an ongoing basis (daily or weekly) the random tests that have been completed and compare them to those that were selected. If a random test has not been completed in an acceptable timeframe (within a day or week) of the expected test date, the service agent or C/TPA should contact the employer to determine the status of the test and take the necessary steps to ensure the test is completed within the selection period. · Employers, service agents, and C/TPA should not wait until the end of the selection period to reconcile the random testing numbers. This is a weak business practice that we want to discourage.
Remember: You must maintain all your testing records in accordance with industry specific regulations. For more information, see the document, “Employer Record Keeping Requirements for Drug and Alcohol Testing Information.” You can find this document at: http://www.dot.gov/ost/dapc/documents.html .
If you have any questions on best practices don’t hesitate to call us!