Archive for the ‘QUESTION OF THE WEEK’ Category

An employee had a breathalyzer, and blood alcohol test, following a 9 panel urine plus alcohol test. Only the urine test came back positive. Could it be the time difference?

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Urine testing (ETG testing) can detect the presence of alcohol in the body roughly up to 80 hours after consumption of alcohol, well over the detection time available via blood or breath testing.

What are MDMA, MDA, and MDEA in the drug test panel?

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

MDMA – methylenedioxymethamphetamin (ecstacy)
MDA – methylenedioxyamphetamine (tenamfetamine) (a stimulant and pyschedelic)
MDEA – methylenedioxyethylamphetamine (amphetamine similar to ecstacy)

May the Medical Review Officers verify a drug test as negative based upon information that a physician recommended that the employee use “medical marijuana?”

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

No. The MRO may not verify a test negative based on information that a physician recommended that the employee use a drug listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. Marijuana remains a drug listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. It remains unacceptable for any safety‐sensitive employee subject to drug testing under the Department of Transportation’s drug testing regulations to use marijuana.

When an employee tests “positive” and request the split specimen test, who is responsible for paying for the split test?

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

The employer is responsible for making sure that the MRO, first laboratory, and second laboratory perform the split specimen test in a timely manner, once the employee has made a proper request. The employer must not condition the compliance with these requirements on the employee’s direct payment to the MRO or laboratory or the employee’s agreement to reimburse the employer for the costs of testing. For example, if the employer asks the employee to pay for some or all of the cost of testing the split specimen, and the employee is unwilling or unable to do so, the employer must ensure that the test takes place in a timely manner, even though this means that the employer pays for it.
The employer may seek payment or reimbursement of all or part of the cost of the split specimen from the employee.

Can someone other than the employee direct that an MRO have the employee

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

No. Because the split specimen exists to provide the employee with

What should a collector do with the first specimen if the temperature was out of range or the specimen showed signs of tampering and the employee refused to provide a second specimen under direct observation?

Friday, August 20th, 2010

When a specimen is out of temperature range or shows signs of tampering and the employee refuses to provide a second specimen under direct observation, it is considered a refusal to test. The collector does not retain the first specimen, but discards it.

If a collector makes an error on a CCF and the collector is not available to sign a corrective statement (e.g., collector on vacation, no longer with the company), can the collector

Friday, August 6th, 2010

If the error was the use of a non-DOT form (to include use of the old Federal CCF), the collector or the collector

How are employees selected for random testing?

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Everyone in the pool must have an equal chance of being selected and tested in each selection period. Selections can be by employee name, identifying title, or with FRA regulated testing, a group that is clearly delineated in company policy or random plan.

A scientifically valid method must be used to select employees for testing, which may include: use of a random-number table, a computer-based random number generator that

What happens if a collector fails to perfom an observed test when required?

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

If a collector, Medical Review Officer (MRO), Third Party Administrator (TPA), or other service agent learns that a Direct Observation collection using the required procedures was not conducted, the employer needs to be informed.

Upon learning that a Direct Observation collection using the required procedures was not conducted, the employer needs to direct the employee to have an immediate recollection under Direct Observation.

What should an employer do if the SAP fails to make the required recommendation for education and/or treatment of an employee who has violated a DOT agency drug or alcohol testing rule, and simply sends the employee back to the employer for a return-do-duty (RTD) test?

Friday, July 9th, 2010

The employer should not administer an RTD test under these circumstances. The employer should refer the employee back to the SAP with direction to prescribe education and/or treatment and conduct a re-evaluation of the employee to determine whether the employee has successfully complied with the SAP