Subject to applicable law and the employer’s policies, an employment-related drug test may be performed prior to starting a new job. Also, employers use drug testing to help ensure a safe, secure, and drug-free work environment. Drug testing is a very controlled process to ensure the integrity of the sample provided by an applicant. This process is monitored so sample tests are not adulterated or mixed with other samples.
Although there are many different types of tests available, most employers used urine-based test testing. However, others methods such as hair, saliva, and breath testing are also available to employers.
The samples are tested at laboratories that set cutoff levels designed to accurately identify the drugs being tested. The process to establish cutoff levels will also help identify the most used adulterants and rule out passive exposure as a reasonable explanation for a positive result.
Today’s confirmation testing methods are very sophisticated in identifying the exact substance that is present in the drug screening specimen. As a further measure to assure accuracy and integrity of the drug screening process, employers may utilize the services of Medical Review Officers to afford donors an opportunity to provide legitimate medical explanations for any positive test results.
All these precautions are designed to help protect the donor and help alleviate concerns over their prescribed medication use and consumption of foods.
For commercial driving positions regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, regular drug testing is required as a condition of employment.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requires certain background checks and drug tests be performed by regulated employers of individuals working in safety-sensitive positions. All DOT-regulated employers also are required to perform drug and alcohol testing, as well as verify that the candidate did not violate the drug and alcohol testing regulations during any previous safety-sensitive employment.
Every regulated transportation employee must take, and pass, a pre-hire (or pre-assignment) drug test before being permitted to perform any regulated safety-sensitive work. DOT regulations require transportation employers to administer random drug and/or alcohol testing programs that ensure the testing of a certain percentage of workers each year. And, all transportation employers are required to conduct reasonable suspicion drug and alcohol tests when warranted.
There are also other employment screening requirements specific to the various transportation modes (i.e., airlines, railroads, municipal transit, pipeline, etc.).
For example, for covered truck and bus operations, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also requires a three-year driving history on all commercial driver candidates, which means that these employers must review motor vehicle records from every state in which a driver has held a license during the past three years.
FMCSA also requires at least three years of employment history, as well as three years of drug and alcohol violation test history, be verified with previous employers.
Additional requirements related to drug and alcohol testing and physical qualifications are mandated. Post-hire FMCSA regulations require an annual review of each driver’s motor vehicle records and every two years the commercial driver must renew their physical examination.