The Department of Transportation (DOT) has released its guidance on how employers can comply with DOT regulations during the Coronavirus outbreak. DOT is committed to maintaining public safety while providing maximum flexibility to allow transportation industries to conduct their operations safely and efficiently during this period of national emergency.
The below guidance is to assist DOT Regulated Employers during this National Emergency:
• As a DOT-regulated employer, you must comply with applicable DOT training and testing requirements. However, DOT recognizes that compliance may not be possible in certain areas due to the unavailability of program resources, such as collection sites, Breath Alcohol Technicians (BAT), Medical Review Officers (MRO) and Substance Abuse Professionals (SAP). You should make a reasonable effort to locate the necessary resources. As a best practice at this time, employers should consider mobile collection services for required testing if the fixed-site collection facilities are not available
• If you are unable to conduct DOT drug or alcohol training or testing due to COVID-19- related supply shortages, facility closures, State or locally imposed quarantine requirements, or other impediments, you are to continue to comply with existing applicable DOT Agency requirements to document why a test was not completed. If training or testing can be conducted later (e.g., supervisor reasonable suspicion training at the next available opportunity, random testing later in the selection period, follow-up testing later in the month), you are to do so in accordance with applicable modal regulations.
• If employers are unable to conduct DOT drug and alcohol testing due to the unavailability of testing resources, the underlying modal regulations continue to apply. For example, without a “negative” pre-employment drug test result, an employer may not permit a prospective or current employee to perform any DOT safety-sensitive functions, or in the case of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), you cannot hire the individual (See 14 CFR § 120.109(1) and (2)).
• Additionally, DOT is aware that some employees have expressed concern about potential public health risks associated with the collection and testing process in the current environment. Employers should review the applicable DOT Agency requirements for testing to determine whether flexibilities allow for collection and testing at a later date.
• As a reminder, it is the employer’s responsibility to evaluate the circumstances of the employee’s refusal to test and determine whether or not the employee’s actions should be considered a refusal as per 49 CFR § 40.355(i). However, as the COVID-19 outbreak poses a novel public health risk, DOT asks employers to be sensitive to employees who indicate they are not comfortable or are afraid to go to clinics or collection sites. DOT asks employers to verify with the clinic or collection site that it has taken the necessary precautions to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
• Employers should revisit back-up plans to ensure the plans are current and effective for the current outbreak conditions. For example, these plans should include availability of collectors and collection sites and BAT, and alternate/back-up MRO, as these may have changed as a result of the national emergency. Employers should also have regular communications with service agents regarding the service agent’s availability and capability to support your DOT drug and alcohol testing program.
• Links to the modal regulations and their respective web pages can be found at https://www.transportation.gov/odapc/agencies. COVID-19 specific information can be found at the DOT’s Coronavirus Resources page here: https://www.transportation.gov/coronavirus
If you require Mobile Testing to help get you through the COVID-19 challenges, let us know. We have mobile testing available.
If you have any questions or concerns about your DOT-regulated or non-regulated program, don’t hesitate to contact us at (800) 820-9209. We are open and happy to assist Monday – Friday, 6:00 am – 5:30 pm PST.
Watch your email and the Frasco Profiles website for updates regarding your FMCSR obligations and any accommodations made by the Department of Transportation during the COVID-19 emergency.