FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Your DOT and Drug and Alcohol Testing Answers

YOUR TESTING EXPERTS: WSS is committed to providing the knowledge your team needs to create a safer workplace.

WILL AN EMPLOYEE LOSE THEIR JOB IF THEY TEST POSITIVE OR VIOLATE DRUG AND ALCOHOL TESTING REGULATIONS?

DOT regulations have nothing to do with the hiring or firing process. It is up to the discretion and company policy to determine if the employee needs to be removed. The employer’s responsibility is to immediately remove an employee from a safety sensitive operation. An employee may be subject to losing certain certifications or licenses needed to perform such jobs.

WHAT HAPPENS IF AN EMPLOYEE TESTS POSITIVE, REFUSES TO TEST OR VIOLATES A RULE?

You will be immediately removed from your safety-sensitive position and will not be allowed to return to duty until proper treatment has been satisfied and a negative drug result has been submitted.

SHOULD AN EMPLOYEE REFUSE A TEST IF THEY FEEL THEY WERE SELECTED UNFAIRLY?

Never refuse a test. Take it if you are selected. Wait until after the test is taken and submitted to communicate with your current employer or DOT agency in the form of a letter stating you committed to company policy and procedure.

WHAT IF AN EMPLOYEE HAS A MEDICATION OR OVER-THE-COUNTER DRUG PRESCRIBED TO THEM?

You are allowed to consume medication or an over-the-counter drug as long as minimum standards are met with an adequate physician who has prescribed this medication or over-the-counter drug using best practices in adhering to best possible treatment.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A 5-PANEL AND A 10-PANEL DRUG TEST?

Either panel can be built by the client, but the standard panels test the following drugs:

5-Panel Drug Test: 1AMP-Amphetamines, 2MET-Methamphetamine, 3OPI-Opiates, 4PCP-Phencyclidine, 5THC-Marijuana

10-Panel Drug Test: 1AMP-Amphetamines, 2BAR-Barbiturates, 3BZO-Benzodiazepines, 4COC-Cocaine, 5MDMA-Ecstasy, 6MET-Methamphetamine, 7MTD-Methadone, 8OPI-Opiates, 9PCP-Phencyclidine, 10THC-Marijuana

WHICH DRUGS ARE CONSIDERED IN DOT TESTING?

Marijuana metabolites /THC
Cocaine metabolites
Amphetamines (including methamphetamine)
Opiates (including codeine, heroin, morphine)
Phencyclidine (PCP)

DO I NEED TO HAVE A WRITTEN POLICY IN PLACE TO EXPLAIN MY PROGRAM?

Yes. The DOT Agencies and the United States Coast Guard require employers covered under their regulations to have policies in place that fully explain their drug and alcohol program. You must not only have a policy, but you must also make it available to employees covered under your DOT program.

DOES AN EMPLOYER NEED TO PROVIDE EMPLOYEES WITH ANY INFORMATION PRIOR TO PERFORMING SAFETY SENSITIVE OPERATIONS?

Your employer will need to provide you with a company policy along with educational information on drug and alcohol testing and abuse in the workplace. This should help inform you of current policies and procedures along with regulations and requirements with which to comply.

WHY ARE SAFETY-SENSITIVE EMPLOYEES TESTED?

Safety-sensitive employees are tested for the traveling safety of all, including yourself, your coworkers, and the public. These employees are also tested to enforce a drug and alcohol-free transportation industry.

WHO IS SUBJECT TO DOT TESTING?

Anyone designated in DOT regulations as a safety-sensitive employee is subject to DOT drug and alcohol testing.

WHAT IS 49 CFR PART 40 AND HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM THE DOT AGENCY AND USCG REGULATIONS?

49 CFR Part 40, or Part 40, as we call it, is a DOT-wide regulation that states how to conduct testing and how to return employees to safety-sensitive duties after they violate a DOT drug and alcohol regulation. Part 40 applies to all DOT-required testing, regardless of what DOT agency-specific rule applies to an employer. For example, whether you are an airline covered by FAA rules or a trucking company covered by FMCSA rules, Part 40 procedures for collecting and testing specimens and reporting of test results apply to you. Each DOT agency-specific regulation spells out who is subject to testing, when and, in what situations for a safety-sensitive employee.

CAN I BECOME DOT COMPLIANT THROUGH YOUR COMPANY?

Yes, WSS provides a complete DOT program with all forms and training required. In addition, we keep an updated folder for each client to provide the DOT the required documentation in the event of an audit.

LOCATION AND FACTS: FAQ

WHERE IS YOUR FACILITY?

Houston’s East End: 1717 Turning Basin, Suite 148, Houston, TX 77029

ARE RESULTS CONFIDENTIAL?

Yes. Your employer is not allowed to disclose any information without your written consent.

WHAT IS A THIRD-PARTY ADMINISTRATOR?

Consortium/third-party administrators (C/TPAs) manage all or part of an employer’s DOT or non-DOT drug and alcohol testing program. It will include, at times, maintaining required testing records. They perform tasks as agreed to by the employer to assist in implementing the drug and alcohol testing program and help keep the employer compliant with the DOT/FMCSA drug and alcohol testing, state, federal, and other rules and regulations.

WHAT IS A SAP AND DO YOU HAVE A SAP IN PLACE?

Under DOT regulations, SAPs are substance abuse professionals. They play a critical role in the workplace testing program by professionally evaluating employees who have violated DOT drug and alcohol rules. SAPs recommend appropriate education, treatment, follow-up tests, and aftercare. They act as the gate-keepers to the re-entry program by determining when a safety-sensitive employee can be returned to duty.

WHAT IS A MEDICAL REVIEW OFFICER? IS ONE ON-SITE? DO YOU PERFORM PHYSICALS, AUDIOGRAMS, OR RESPIRATORY FIT TESTS ON-SITE OR AT YOUR FACILITY?

A medical review officer (MRO) is a licensed physician with knowledge and experience in substance abuse disorders. MROs must complete training courses and fulfill obligations for continuing education courses; they are DOT-certified and registered on the DOT website. Our MRO is onsite to perform examinations including health history review through physical examination and urinalysis. Yes, we can perform audiograms and respiratory FIT tests at our facility or onsite.

WHAT IS A DER AND WHAT FUNCTION DOES A DER PERFORM?

A DER is a designated employer representative. He/she is your key employee for several drug and alcohol program functions. The DER must be a company employee.

HOW IS A URINE DRUG TEST ADMINISTERED?

The test is administered in three steps: collection, testing at the laboratory, and review by the medical review officer.

WHAT DRUGS ARE TESTED?

We can test for a plethora of drugs at different cut-off levels based on our clients’ needs. We partner with the strongest laboratory for synthetic marijuana testing, medical professional panels, and company-specific panels.

WHAT LAB DO YOU USE?

We use different laboratories depending on the type of testing required: urine, hair, oral fluid, and/or alcohol. Labs we use include Quest Diagnostics, Clinic Reference Laboratories, Omega, Alere, etc. All urine testing laboratories are certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET RESULTS BACK?

Turnaround time for lab-based drug screening results is one business day for negative results and 3–5 business days for results which include a medical review officer interview.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN INSTANT (POCT) AND A LAB BASED TEST?

An instant test or POCT is defined as Point of Collection Testing, which provides an immediate result utilizing a urine specimen. A lab-based test is testing sent to a laboratory for confirmation. All non-negative (positive) specimens from the initial screen will be confirmed by the lab using a different technique and chemical principle utilizing the initial sample to ensure the reliability and accuracy of the result. All test results will be reported to a medical review officer (MRO) for verification prior to being transmitted to the employee and/or the company.

WHAT IS AN ORAL DRUG TEST?

An oral drug test, also called an oral fluid test, is a type of test which analyzes a saliva sample for parent drugs and their metabolites. An absorbent collection device is placed in the mouth and the saliva collected is screened for drugs of abuse. Oral fluid testing can detect drugs in the saliva in as little as 10 minutes after ingestion, making it excellent for post-accident and reasonable-suspicion testing situations.

WHAT DOES NEGATIVE DILUTE MEAN?

A negative dilute is defined when a lab reports a specimen as dilute. There are certain levels of creatinine and specific gravity that determine the specimen as dilute. This means that the donor has consumed a large quantity of water before providing the urine specimen. Specimens are classified under certain ranges with a normal creatinine concentration of 20 mg/dl and 250 mg/dl. Specimens having values outside these ranges are not consistent with normal human urine and are therefore classified as negative.

HOW LONG DO DRUGS STAY IN YOUR SYSTEM?

These answers depend on metabolism, exercise, and water consumption.

  • Alcohol: 3–5 days in urine, and approximately 10–12 hours in the bloodstream
  • Amphetamines: 1–3 days in urine, up to 90 days in hair, and approximately 12 hours in the bloodstream
  • Barbiturates: 2–4 days in urine, up to 90 days in hair, and 1–2 days in the bloodstream
  • Benzodiazepines: 3–6 weeks in urine, up to 90 days in hair, and 2–3 days in the bloodstream
  • Marijuana: 7–30 days in urine or longer depending on length and consistency of usage, up to 90 days in hair, and two weeks in the bloodstream
  • Cocaine: 3–4 days in urine, up to 90 days in hair, and 1–2 days in the bloodstream
  • Codeine: One day in urine, up to 90 days in hair, and 12 hours in the bloodstream
  • Heroin: 3–4 days in urine, up to 90 days in hair, and up to 12 hours in the bloodstream
  • LSD: 1–3 days in urine, up to three days in hair, and 2–3 hours in the bloodstream
  • MDMA (Ecstasy): 3–4 days in urine, up to 90 days in hair, and 1–2 days in the bloodstream
  • Methamphetamine (Crystal Meth): 3–6 days in urine, up to 90 days in hair, and 24–72 hours in the bloodstream
  • Methadone: 3–4 days in urine, up to 90 days in hair, and 24–36 hours in the bloodstream
  • Morphine: 2–3 days in urine, up to 90 days in hair, and 6–8 hours in the bloodstream

ON-SITE TESTING: FAQ

DO YOU DO COLLECTION ONLY?

Yes. WSS is partnered with many third-party administrators around the country.

HOW FAR DO YOU TRAVEL FOR ON-SITE COLLECTIONS?

We travel throughout Houston and its 12 surrounding counties. Wherever you are, we will come to you.

DO YOU ARRIVE ON-SITE?

Yes, we arrive onsite 24 hours a day, seven days per week, 365 days a year in Houston and its 12 surrounding counties.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ON-SITE TESTING?

DOT regulations have nothing to do with the hiring or firing process. It is up to the discretion and company policy to determine if the employee needs to be removed. The employer’s responsibility is to immediately remove an employee from a safety sensitive operation. An employee may be subject to losing certain certifications or licenses needed to perform such jobs.

TESTING PROCEDURES: FAQ

WHAT IS CONSIDERED REFUSAL TO TEST?
  • Failure to remain at the testing site until the testing process is complete.
  • Failure to appear for any test after being directed to do so by your employer.
  • Failure to provide a urine or breath sample for any test required by federal regulations.
  • Failure to permit the observation or monitoring of you providing a urine sample (Please note: Tests conducted under direct observation or monitoring occur in limited situations. The majority of specimens are provided in private).
  • Failure to provide a sufficient urine or breath sample when directed, and it has been determined, through a required medical evaluation, that there was not an adequate medical explanation for the failure.
  • Failure to take a second test when directed to do so.
  • Failure to cooperate with any part of the testing process.
  • Failure to undergo a medical evaluation as part of “shy bladder” or “shy lung” procedures.
  • Failure to sign Step #2 of the CCF (Chain of Custody Form).
  • Providing a specimen that is verified as adulterated or substituted.
WHAT SPECIMENS ARE COLLECTED FOR DOT DRUG AND ALCOHOL TESTS?
  • DOT drug tests are conducted with urine specimens only.
  • DOT alcohol screening tests are conducted using either breath or saliva.
  • DOT alcohol confirmation tests must be conducted using Evidential Breath Testing Devices (EBTs) that only analyze breath.
WHY WILL EMPLOYEES BE TESTED?

There are five reasons to be tested:

  • Pre-employment
  • Reasonable suspicion/cause
  • Random
  • Return-to-duty
  • Follow-up
  • Post-accident
DO YOU RUN RANDOMS?

WSS can/will run the random lists through our random algorithm system and provide the client with the complete list for each event. Random testing will help your company diffuse employee discrimination complaints about drug testing. We can provide a company with a computerized random pool from which employee names can be selected for random drug and alcohol testing. Random selections can be done at any time the client desires usually monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly depending on the size and need of the company.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A REASONABLE SUSPICION AND A SWEEP/BASELINE TEST?

Reasonable-suspicion testing is based on specific contemporaneous articulable observations of individual employee conduct, behavior, and appearance or body odors. The observation must be conducted and documented by a supervisor who has participated in training on the signs and symptoms of alcohol misuse, drug abuse, and requirements for reasonable-suspicion testing. It is recommended that both a drug and alcohol test are completed in these situations.

Sweep/baseline testing is for a client who is interested in implementing a drug policy when it is either nonexistent or altered in order to create a better drug-free workplace program. To start a new program, all employees are tested in order to establish a baseline and enforce a drug-free environment.

HAVE MORE QUESTIONS?

CONTACT US TODAY