Failed a DOT Drug Test – Now What?

Drug testing is an essential process for many employers, especially those in regulated industries such as transportation. Positive drug test results can be a major cause of concern for employers, and many find themselves unsure of what steps to take next. If you or your employee has failed a drug test, this blog post will provide you with important information on what to do next. We’ll cover topics such as the FMCSA Clearinghouse , observed collections, follow-up testing, and more. As an expert in this field, I aim to help employers navigate this sensitive and challenging situation.

1. FMCSA Clearinghouse โ€“ What is it and what should you do?

The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) Clearinghouse is an online database that employers use to check for drug and alcohol violations of their employees who are subject to DOT drug screens. If an employee’s name is in the Clearinghouse with a violation as, it means they have received a drug or alcohol violation. If you discover that your employee’s name is in the Clearinghouse, you must immediately remove them from safety-sensitive responsibilities, as per regulations. You will need to register with the Clearinghouse, and once registered, you can query the database to access driver and other employee information.  An annual query must be done for each FMCSA Driver employed.

2. Observed Collections โ€“ What are they and what do they entail?

All Return to Duty and Follow-up testing must be observed.  An observed collection is a drug test procedure where the technician sits close enough to the participant to visually monitor the appropriate collection of a urine sample. This procedure is commonly used when there is a suspicion of tampering. If an observed collection is required, it is important to communicate that to the employee and ensure they understand the necessary steps to follow. Some employees may be hesitant or uncomfortable with this type of collection, so it’s essential to address any concerns they may have and explain that this is a regulated and necessary process.  Oral fluids are considered an observed collection.  Once the oral fluids are available employers can choose to use oral fluid testing in place of the observed urine collection.

3. Follow-up Testing โ€“ What happens after an employee fails a drug test?

If an employee fails a drug test, you must immediately remove them from safety-sensitive responsibilities and proceed with further testing. Depending on the situation, a return to duty test may be required, as well as follow-up testing. A return to duty test is conducted after a driver has completed the necessary steps to return to a safety-sensitive role. Upon passing the return to duty test, the employee can begin their duties, but will be subject to follow-up testing. The follow-up testing is conducted over a period of time, and the number of tests required is determined by a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP).

4. DOT Drug Screen โ€“ What is it and how does it relate to regulated companies?

A DOT drug screen is a regulated drug test used to ensure safety in various fields such as transportation. The screening is regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and ensures that any employee who is subject to testing is free from any prohibited substances. Failing a DOT drug screen can result in serious consequences for both the employee and employer. Employers may be subject to fines, while employees may lose their job or suffer other consequences.

5. Regulated Drug Screen โ€“ What is it and why is it important?

A regulated drug screen is a specific type of drug test that is subject to federal regulations. In addition to the DOT drug screen mentioned earlier, other regulated industries such as aviation, maritime, and pipeline companies are required to conduct drug testing. These tests are mandatory for employees working in safety-sensitive positions and are aimed at reducing the risk of accidents and injuries that could occur as a result of substance use.

Failure of a drug test can be a challenging and sensitive issue for employers to handle. The steps you take next are crucial and can impact both the employee and the company as a whole. By understanding the regulations governing drug testing, using the FMCSA Clearinghouse, and properly conducting observed collections and follow-up testing, you can ensure that your company stays compliant with federal regulations. It is important to remember that drug testing is a necessary and effective way to enhance safety in the workplace.  If you need assistance with the FMCSA Clearinghouse or a DOT Drug Screening Program, Workplace Screening Intelligence can help you today.  Call 844-573-8378 to speak with a knowledgeable Support staff member or email