The Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) oversees alcohol and drug testing for employees that perform work under a few different groups. Probably the largest group is the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA), which includes all bus and truck drivers across the entire country who are required to operate with a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) covers all those people working and operating with the railroads. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) covers all airline pilots and air traffic control personnel. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) covers all people working on the gas pipelines or working with the transportation of hazardous materials. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) covers all workers involved in mass transit. Finally, the US Coast Guard (USCG) also covers all coast guard members under their drug testing program.
The purpose of the DOT’s alcohol and drug testing program is to ensure the safety of the general public. Because all these federal departments are in charge of operations that could have significant impact of the public and in many cases large numbers of people at one time, the Department of Transportation hold rigorous standards for workers to ensure they are physically fit to perform their duties and ensure that they are not impaired on the job.
All workers under all these administrations are subject to pre-employment drug testing as well as random drug and/or alcohol testing. Additionally, they need to submit to testing in the event of a post-accident situation or for what is referred to as reasonable suspicion. This means if a supervisor has reason to suspect a worker may be under the influence, then the employee must immediately submit to alcohol and/or drug testing.
Anytime someone who falls under these administrations’ tests positive for alcohol or drugs following a pre-employment, post-accident, reasonable suspicion, or random test, they must go through the Return to Duty Process. If a worker tests positive, they are immediately removed from the job site and informed that they will have to complete the return to duty process before they can work again. The Federal DOT has a very specific set of steps that workers must go through in order to get back to work. The person most responsible for getting the employee through the return to duty process and who ultimately decides when they are ready to return to work, is the Substance Abuse Professional (SAP).
The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) has special training in the Federal DOT statutes for alcohol and drug testing, as well as the return to duty process. This, in conjunction with their licensed training in alcohol and drug abuse and assessments, is what allows them to determine what types of service an employee will need and when they are ready to return to work. Broadly speaking, there are 3 main steps a worker must do as part of the return to duty process. First, they must schedule an appointment to be assessed by a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) who will complete a chemical dependency evaluation to determine what sort of recommendation and treatment is needed for the person. Second, the employee must follow through and complete the treatment or education recommendations made by the SAP and provide proof of completion. Third, the employee must submit to another alcohol and/or drug test to verify that their system is clean of all substances. Once all three steps have been completed, then the employee is able to return to their safety sensitive job duties.
Innovative Psychological Consultants is proud to have a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) on staff. Dr. Chris Anderson, Psy.D., LP is one of only a handful of SAP’s in the state of Minnesota able to perform these assessments. He strives to help employees get back to work as quickly as possible and is generally able to make room in his schedule to see DOT regulated workers within a week. He is both thorough and fair with his focus being to protect the welfare of the public by ensuring workers get the services and care the need.
If you need a DOT SAP evaluation, please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.
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