The Dept. of Transportation (DOT) has revised the drug and alcohol testing rules to give employees, among other things, better protection against false positive readings.
Highlights of the new ruling include the following:
A physician will review all tests that indicate an employee's specimen has been tampered with or substituted. The employee may obtain an independent test of his or her specimen — specimens are split in half — at a different certified laboratory to check the validity of the original test.
Employers may ask DOT for permission to temporarily remove employees from performing safety-related tasks while the medical review officer is deciding whether or not there may be a legitimate medical explanation for a positive lab result. Employees must be paid during this time.
Contract service providers will be allowed greater freedom in sharing information about drug testing with employers. Also, the revised rule gives DOT greater authority in drug-testing matters involving third-party service providers so that they are subject to DOT's rules.
Most provisions of the new ruling are scheduled to go into effect August 1. The complete rule can be found at www.dot.gov/ost/dapc .