Drug Testing Exposed "Loopholes & Trade Secrets"|
Mass Cerification, Article 27
DOT Drug & Alcohol Testing Employers: Are mass certification providers putting your company at
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One of the most misunderstood industry issues is that employer’s are responsible for all of their service agents
under Federal Drug Testing Rules and Regulations 49 CFR Part 40.
In 2001, when the DOT announced that all drug and alcohol collectors were required to be certified, the problem began.
Immediately, mass certification providers appeared across the country claiming to be DOT approved sanctioned or certified
trainers. In reality, there is no such thing. The only claim any trainer can make is that their training course outline has
been reviewed by the DOT. DOT neither approves sanctions nor endorses any particular training program or training provider.
Soon, thousands of existing drug and alcohol collectors flocked to trade shows and hotel conference centers in pursuit of
complying with the new requirements.
As the race to become compliant began, certification trainers were not delivering the mock collections required at the
conclusion of the trainings. The majority of collectors either never completed the mocks or completed them improperly.
In either case, the trainings were incomplete, faulty and not in compliance with the requirements of 40.33.
In recent years, two new certification businesses have come on the scene. On-line certification, taken in the comfort of
your own home and mock collection verification businesses which often times provides mock collections for ill equipped
certificate holders of on line trainings. How does all of this affect the DOT employer?
Under Employer’s responsibilities, the CFR’s make you, the employer responsible for your service agents. This includes drug
and alcohol collectors, Medical Review Officers, third party administrators, supervisor training and the verification of
your providers’ certifications. Today, as a 49 CFR part 40 train the trainer and consultant, I find that the industry is
inundated with established drug and alcohol testing facilities that have never been certified. Many who have been certified
have never properly completed the required mock collections. In the on-line training world, it is not uncommon to find,
that while one collector successfully completed the training, several certificates of completion are issued to various
collectors. Clearly, one collector is “sitting in” for the rest. So how do you protect yourself and fulfill the CFR
requirements as the employer?
First, verify your collector’s certifications. This is done by calling the certification provider. Ask if, and how, the mock
collections were done. They should be done at the time of the training and under proper procedures.
Second, ask to see breath alcohol technician logs. This will tell you if they are in compliance with their QAP’s quality
assurance policies. Next, review the BAT’s calibration log. You want to ensure that your BAT keeps the breath alcohol device
calibrated. Also, verify the expiration date of the gas cylinders used for calibration. You will be shocked to know how many
collectors are using devices that have not been calibrated for years and are using calibration gas cylinders that are
expired by five years or more.
Third, ensure that your collection provider is equipped to provide same sex collectors as required. This is a huge factor in
noncompliant collections that makes your company noncompliant.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. I receive several calls a week from collection providers requesting to be put on my
company’s referral list. I qualify them with three questions. Their response tells me that the majority of people who
request to be referred are not properly certified. When your collectors are not in compliance, your entire program is not
in compliance. This puts your employees in a position to become the public safety hazard that drug testing was intended to
There simply is no substitute for certification training which complies with the DOT requirements and produces collectors
equipped to properly execute the requirements of the CFR’s.
By: Mike Bonventre, Author:
Drug Testing Exposed, “Loopholes & Trade Secrets”