DOT Return-To-Duty Testing
Return-to-duty testing in the DOT happens after an employee has failed a drug or alcohol test by testing positive, refused to get tested, or violated other drug and alcohol policies. DOT return-to-duty tests and follow-up drug tests are applicable for the return to duty of safety-sensitive transportation industry employees—truck and bus drivers, train engineers, pilots, subway operators, ship captains, and pipeline emergency response personnel, among others.
Making Difficult Decisions Easier
Return-to-duty DOT testing must occur after an employee has failed a drug or alcohol test by testing positive, has refused to get tested or violated other drug and alcohol policies. DOT return-to-duty and follow-up drug tests are applicable to all safety-sensitive workers, from truck and bus drivers, train engineers, pilots to subway operators, ship captains and pipeline emergency response personnel. If the employer decides to give the person a second chance to return to their job, the specific and strict regulations must be followed according to the DOT-mandated process.
There are return-to-duty alcohol tests and return-to-duty controlled substances tests. The alcohol test must be returned with a concentration lower than 0.02, while the drug test must come back with a negative result. The employee will be required to take a minimum number of follow-up tests determined by the SAP.
As part of the return-to-duty process under Rule 49 CFR 40, the employer has the liberty to determine if the employee should be reinstated to a safety-sensitive position after removal due to a positive drug or alcohol test – after all the legal steps are completed. The employer is entirely free not to hire back a problematic employee that has caused difficulties in the past, even if the drug and alcohol test results are fine.
Information On This Topic
Understanding Drug Testing Types, Methods and Specimen Collection
Examining the wide assortment of drug testing options available and exploring the potential pros and cons of each method
There are several reasons or circumstances that can lead to the necessity of a drug test.
Why do businesses need Random Drug Tests
Do you remember the last time you applied for a new job? Or perhaps you are a hiring manager at the business who has accepted many applications and interviewed potential hires. One common part of the hiring process is the pre-employment drug test. No matter what side of the process you are on, this drug test is designed to ensure that the company ends up with the best employees possible who will be able to perform their duties safely and successfully.
Prescription Drug Abuse Signs, Symptoms and Statistics
Prescription drug abuse implies taking prescription medication was not given to you by the doctor, or taking your prescription medication in a manner that differs from the instructions. While taking prescription medication is not perceived as equivalent to taking illegal street drugs, the consequences can be equally harsh
The DOT Return-To-Duty Steps
After an employee has met one of the criteria requiring them to complete return-to-duty testing, there are certain steps that must be followed before they can take the test.
- Meet With a Substance Abuse Professional
The employee must receive a list of qualified Substance Abuse Professionals (SAP) and meet in-person for an evaluation. The SAP will document the evaluation in a report that’s sent to the employer, as well as recommend education and/or treatment.
- Complete the Recommendations
The employee will have to complete any education and/or treatment recommended by the SAP before they can move on with the process of returning to duty.
- Follow-Up Meeting to Determine Next Steps
Next, a follow-up, in-person meeting with the SAP will get scheduled. The SAP will decide if the employee has finished all of their recommendations. If satisfied, the SAP will write another report for the employer to let them know the employee has been successful.
- Administering the Return-To-Duty Test
If the SAP deems the treatment as successful, the employee must take a return-to-duty test. The urine collection will need to be given under direct observation by a member of the same sex as the employee. Subsequently, the observer must witness the employee urinate into the collection receptacle. The urine test must come back with an alcohol concentration of less than 0.02, and the drug test must be negative (and verified).
The employer will receive the return-to-duty test results and decide if the employee can return to their job. Even if the employee goes back to their role, the SAP may request follow-up drug and/or alcohol testing (with direct observation) as part of their final recommendation.
Be prepared for your drug test!
- Bring your Government Issued Picture ID
- Bring Drug Test Paperwork or Authorization
- Complete TSL Intake Form & HIPAA Disclosure
- Pay for your test on site
- Make sure you are hydrated if you are performing a Urine Test
- Expect to have your nail polish removed if getting a Nail Drug Test
- We do not need your prescription information but a Medical Review Officer (MRO) may contact you after collection to verify your medications.
- For urine testing, plan on arriving 3 hours before we close (1 hr minimum) to provide a cushion of time for a shy bladder situation.
- For hair testing, be sure to dry your hair completely before arriving.
- For nail testing, be sure to clean your nails with soap and water before arriving. Also, artificial nails and polish must be removed.
What Are Your Hours?
- All Test Smartly Labs are open Monday through Friday, from 9am - 5pm
- The Overland Park Testing Center is also open from 9am – 1pm on Saturdays
Do We Need To Have An Appointment?
- No appointment is required to come into our labs, and all of our locations are on a walk-in basis. However, it is recommended you arrive at least 30 minutes prior to closing. If your situation requires special time considerations, please call us to determine if it would be better to arrange an appointment time.
Do I Need Doctors’ Orders For Testing?
- No doctors’ orders needed, we are a Direct-Access Testing Center. You are encouraged to consult your medical professional with your lab test results.
What’s The Turnaround Time For Lab Work?
- Average turnaround time is 2-5 business days depending on the complexity of the lab work. Most tests are available in 2-3 days.
Do You Need A List Of My Medications For A Drug Test?
- Per protocol, the lab techs are not allowed to receive or ask for your medications. A medical review officer or MRO, a licensed physician who specializes in toxicology, will call you and ask for your medications and your physician’s phone number if it’s detected in your sample during testing. The MRO will then call your physician to verify your medications.