Tougher DOT Drug Testing Rules Now in Effect

The U.S. Department of Transportation's drug testing rules are the gold standard for workplace testing as a whole in this country, and they just became tougher to defeat. Changes published June 25 took effect today and take aim at adulterant substances and devices intended to help drug-using workers beat a test.

For example, direct observation procedures now require the observer to check for devices designed to beat the test. Also, drug testing laboratories must test all DOT specimens for adulterants and urine substitutes and must follow all Department of Health and Human Resources protocols for doing so. Directly observed collections will continue to occur only when there is a specific reason to believe the employee may be attempting, or have sufficient reason, to evade the testing process; in these collections, observers will check both men and women for items such as prosthetic devices designed to carry clean urine. Observed collections will now be required, rather than optional, for all return-to-duty and follow-up drug tests.

These refusals to test are noted in the new DOT guidelines:
1. An employee admits to the collector that he or she adulterated or substituted the specimen.
2. The employee behaves in a confrontational way that disrupts the collection process.
3. The employee fails to follow the observer’s instructions to raise and lower his or her clothing and to turn around to permit the observer to determine if the employee has a prosthetic or other device that could be used to interfere with the collection process.
4. The employee possesses or wears a prosthetic or other device that could be used to interfere with the collection process.
5. The employee refuses to wash his or her hands -- after being directed to do so.

Beginning today, drug testing labs must provide to DOT semi-annual statistical summaries on all of their DOT testing. For more information about the changes, visit the Web site of DOT's Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance, www.dot.gov/ost/dapc/news.html.

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