An effective drug and alcohol policy is the key to creating a safe and drug-free workplace for all your employees. It becomes even more critical if you have employees in safety-sensitive positions. According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), as an employer, you are required to have a drug and alcohol policy in place as part of your commitment to protecting the safety of employees and the public. This policy should contain clear policies on drug and alcohol testing, provisions for education and training and if necessary, referral for a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) which conducts an evaluation and provides treatment and/or education sources. According to the DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Controlled Substances and Alcohol Rule §382.601, the following elements are required to be included in the policy to maintain compliance:
- Policy statement. Each policy should begin with a short statement encompassing the objective and purpose of the drug use and alcohol misuse program for your workplace. This should include elements of protecting employees, maintaining health and safety within the workplace and continued public safety.
- Who is subject to drug and/or alcohol testing? Ideally, your policy should cover all employees, contractors and employee candidates, especially if you employ safety-sensitive workers. However, if there is any fluctuation from these standards, this should be clearly stated in your policy.
- Prohibited behavior. Although all safety-sensitive employees are prohibited from using drugs and/or alcohol while on duty by DOT regulations, it is still important to state the regulations and how they apply to your employees or candidates within the workplace.
- Required testing. Circumstances for testing under DOT regulations, i.e. pre-employment, random, post-accident, reasonable suspicion, return to duty and follow up, should be clearly indicated so an employee can understand when he/she may be subject to testing. It is also essential to include how employees’ identities will be protected and the process for conducting tests and receiving results. By being transparent with employees, there is less room for misinterpretation of the procedures.
- Consequences for use of drugs or misuse of alcohol. All action pertaining to an employee that tests positive or has a refusal to test on a drug and/or alcohol test should be detailed in the policy to avoid any confusion or miscommunication. This should include the return-to-duty process and the follow-up testing procedures. Policy concerning the further employment of an employee or candidate is strictly up to the employer and should also be clearly stated.
Once a policy on drug use and alcohol misuse in the workplace has been adopted, the next critical factor is communicating the policy to your employees. Written materials must be provided to your employees and candidates explaining the regulations, procedures, and consequences of the policy. Additionally, DOT FMCSA regulations require employees to sign a certificate of receipt to meet compliance under §382.601.
Writing a drug and alcohol policy for your company is a complicated process. The team at ASAP has the experience, industry knowledge and skills to develop an executable DOT and/or Non-DOT regulatory compliant policy that your company can rely on. Whether your company is seeking to revise a current policy or develop a new one, ASAP can provide support to ensure your policy meets the company’s goals and contains the necessary components of a compliant policy. ASAP provides the know-how and the tools to make the policies work. Call us at 888-792-2727 x 607 and work safely.
FMCSA. (2014). Implementation guidelines for alcohol and drug regulations-chapter 3. https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/drug-alcohol-testing/implementation-guidelines-alcohol-and-drug-regulations-chapter-3
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