DOT Return-To-Duty Process

If you are a DOT employee—truck or bus driver, train engineer, pilot, subway operator, etc. —and you test positive for the use of alcohol or drugs, the DOT requires that you follow a detailed plan and complete several steps before returning to work. A key part of this plan is working with a variety of state-regulated, DOT-certified substance abuse professionals (SAP). At Affordable Evaluations, our SAP team has the skills, expertise, and accreditation to facilitate these DOT requirements. Our team of professionals works with employees of the greater Houston area to get re-established in their careers while still meeting all of the necessary requirements and stipulations.

How Do You Fail a DOT Drug Test?

Failing a test or testing positive can occur when the drug or alcohol screening reveals the presence of drugs or alcohol when the donor alters or substitutes the specimen, or if the donor refuses to test, fails to appear for the test, or does not fully cooperate with the drug testing process.

Return-to-duty Steps

Step One—Suspension

If the driver or employee’s test is verified as positive, he or she must be immediately removed from his or her job and from all safety-sensitive functions. Even if they are on the road in another state, they will be notified to cease driving as soon as safely possible.

Step Two—Evaluation

After being taken off of the job, the employee must then undergo an evaluation from a DOT-qualified substance abuse professional. During this face-to-face evaluation, the SAP will discuss with the employee his or her history, situation, and develop the most suitable form of activities and treatments for the employee moving forward.

Step Three—Treatment

Based on the evaluation results, the SAP will then prescribe an appropriate treatment program. The substance abuse treatment program will take an individualized approach that often consists of counseling, educational courses, and other methods of treatment.

Step Four—Follow-Up

Following the successful completion of the SAP-recommended programs, the employee will then return for a follow-up evaluation by the same SAP. During this evaluation, the SAP will be looking for signs of progress and will determine whether the employee is ready to take a return-to-duty test and resume employment. If the employee is given the clear, the SAP will issue a written determination of the employee’s eligibility to perform his or her job.

Step Five—Drug Screening

Before an employee can return to work, however, they must first pass a return-to-duty drug screening. This test is conducted by an authorized drug testing service, like Affordable Evaluations. If the screening is negative, the employee is then legally permitted to resume job duties.

Follow-Up Tests

After completing the above steps, the DOT requires that SAP schedule periodic follow-up drug tests. They require a minimum of six tests over a 12-month period. Each test must be taken under direct supervision, and these regular tests may be conducted for up to five years.

Though some may assume that if you are being required to complete follow-up tests then you are not subject to random drug testing, this is not the case. Just like all drivers, the employees who go through the RTD process are also included in the regular random testing pool. In other words, follow-up tests do not replace random tests.

If you are an employer or supervisor in the Houston area in need of return-to-work services, our team can help! Our substance abuse professionals are experienced in adhering to DOT, DISA, and NASAP guidelines, and all of our return-to-work programs are designed to help businesses protect bottom lines while ensuring their employees meet industry standards. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule your drug testing services or employee services.

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