Sara Sharp
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What good practices will help companies implement effective DOT random alcohol and drug testing?

When it comes to workplace substance testing, it’s critical to do it the right way or you leave yourself open to government fines or worse, employee lawsuits. For ideas on how best to implement testing in your company, read on to find what some readers had to say on the topic.

Sara Sharp

Sara Sharp

Founder and Partner at .

Establish A Written Drug And Alcohol Testing Policy; Use A Qualified Drug And Alcohol Testing Provider

Employers subject to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) drug and alcohol testing regulations must comply with strict requirements to ensure a safe workplace for their employees and the public.

Establish a written drug and alcohol testing policy
Employers must have a written policy outlining the types of drug and alcohol testing they conduct, the procedures for testing, and the consequences for employees who test positive.

Use a qualified drug and alcohol testing provider
Employers must use a qualified provider to conduct drug and alcohol testing. The [lab analyzing the test] must be certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and must follow DOT testing regulations.

Conduct random testing
Employers must conduct random drug and alcohol testing of employees in safety-sensitive positions. The selection process for random testing must be truly random and must be based on a scientifically valid method.

Follow proper procedures for post-accident testing
Employers must conduct drug and alcohol testing of employees involved in accidents that meet DOT criteria. Employers must follow proper procedures for post-accident testing, including timely notification of the employee, documentation of the accident, and testing within the required time frame.

David Clark

David Clark

Randomize Testing Dates, Times

Clarify testing procedures with employees.
Given that the testing is random, there should be a talk between the employer and employees before and after the tests. This avoids leaving any employee feeling like they’re overtested while others don’t get tested at all. Companies should have a random pool of employees every testing period. This pool should be reset each testing period. Notification should be discussed as well. Make sure every employee knows that no advanced notifications will be received prior to the test, but ensure that they know that selected employees will be notified discreetly.

Create a non-predictable testing pattern.
One of the primary rules of these tests is to make them as truly random as possible. Companies’ patterns should be designed to catch a safety-sensitive employee off guard. That being said, the scheduled testing dates should be spread out throughout the year and the times should vary.

When spreading out the dates, companies should take note of their annual testing rate requirement. This can help them plan out the testing dates for the whole year. This will help them avoid cramming to meet their rate requirement before the year ends, removing the element of surprise.

In addition to spreading out testing dates, the times should vary as well. The testing shouldn’t be conducted only at the end or beginning of employee shifts. The times should follow industry-specific regulations. As a rule of thumb, it should be just before, during, or after the employee performs a safety-sensitive job.

Phillip Ziano

Head at Marketing .

Random Selection, Safety Training

A few key tips for implementing an effective random alcohol and drug testing program for companies:

1. Ensure that a random selection method is used when selecting employees for drug testing so as to make it a fair exercise.

2. Make sure that every employee’s testing experience goes smoothly, concisely, and privately. Establishing expectations and other rules in advance will make the process more straightforward when it’s time to select and test employees.

3. Provide safety training and education to all the staff so that they understand why random testing is necessary and how it helps prevent substance use issues in the workplace.

4. Take advantage of technology such as automated reporting systems to make it faster and save costs.

Companies can keep employees safe and stop substance use problems at work by doing these important things for drug testing. Companies are also able to ensure that their employees’ rights and privacy are respected during the process.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors’ statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.