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Monday, August 16, 2010

New DOT Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Procedures
















Alabama@Work
By: Tommy Eden, Attorney

Published in today’s Federal Register is a new Final Rule. Summary:
1) The Department is required by the Omnibus Transportation Employees Testing Act (Omnibus Act) to follow the HHS requirements for the testing procedures/protocols and drugs for which we test.

2) Primary laboratory requirements in this final rule include:

- Testing for MDMA (aka Ecstasy);
- Lowering cutoff levels for cocaine and amphetamines;
- Conducting mandatory initial testing for heroin;

3) The Department brought several testing definitions in-line with those of HHS.

4) Each Medical Review Officer (MRO) will need to be re-qualified – including passing an examination given by an MRO training organization - every five years. The Final Rule eliminated the requirement for each MRO to take 12 hours of continuing education every three years.

5) An MRO will not need to be trained by an HHS-approved MRO training organization as long as the MRO meets DOT’s qualification and requalification training requirements.

6) MRO recordkeeping requirements did not change from the five years for non-negatives and one year for negatives.

7) The Final Rule does not allow the use of HHS-Certified Instrumented Initial Testing Facilities (IITFs) to conduct initial drug testing because the Omnibus Act requires laboratories to be able to perform both initial and confirmation testing but IITFs cannot conduct confirmation testing.

8) The Final Rule is effective October 1, 2010.

You can view the Final Rule at the Federal Register’s website: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-20095.pdf .


The document is also be available on the ODAPC website at http://www.dot.gov/ost/dapc.


Common Sense Counsel: There have been many changes in the DOT regulations over the past 2 years and more to come by October 1, 2010 with a change in cutoff level and the addition of ecstasy to the testing panel. Now is a good time to audit you entire DOT training and compliance program.

Tommy Eden is a Lee County native, an attorney with the local office of Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP and a member of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law and serves on the Board of Directors for the East Alabama SHRM Chapter. He can be contacted at teden@constangy.com or 334-246-2901. Blog at www.alabamaatwork.com