Magazine article Personnel Journal

DOT Final Alcohol and Drug Testing Rules

Magazine article Personnel Journal

DOT Final Alcohol and Drug Testing Rules

Article excerpt

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF Transportation (DOT) has published final alcohol and drug testing rules, which are applicable to 7.4 million workers who perform "safety-sensitive functions" in transportation industries, including aviation, trucking, rail, pipeline operations, maritime and mass transit.

Mandated by the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 (Act), the rules impose alcohol testing for the first time and expand existing drug testing programs to cover intrastate commercial vehicle and government vehicle drivers.

The rules take effect on January 1, 1995, for employers having more than 50 employees, and on January 1, 1996, for smaller companies. Separate rules detail drug testing obligations of covered employers.

The Act mandated that DOT prescribe regulations within one year of its enactment to require testing for safety-sensitive employees and, among other things, privacy in collection techniques, safeguards for alcohol testing, quantified confirmation of any positive screening result, collection of split samples, confidentiality of test results and scientifically random selection of employees to be tested.

The DOT's summary provides that employees may not perform safety-sensitive functions within four hours of using alcohol (eight hours for flight crews) or if they have a blood alcohol level of 0.04 or greater.

The rules provide that such employees must be removed from their jobs immediately, be evaluated by a substance-abuse professional and potentially undergo rehabilitation counseling. Workers who have blood alcohol levels of 0. …

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