Role of drug testing consortium in implementation of DOT drug testing program

Posted by aimewolf on November 25th, 2015

The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) require an employer under the transportation department to comply with the rules and regulation DOT drug testing program to ensure that the workplace becomes free of drug and alcohol. A drug testing consortium or a Third Party Administrator, as they are also known, will help you in not only managing a part or the entire program, but also in the implementation of the program. A certified consortium can also manage random tests which even some of the owner-operators are not permitted to carry out. In a way the consortium is a service agent that is allowed to carry out functions on behalf of the employer.

If you are an owner-operator or a single driver owner, then achieving the objectives of a drug free workplace is your primary responsibility. A drug testing consortium is what you require to take the help of, in this case. Allowing any service agent will not let you handover all the compliance issues to them as they will not be authorized to perform a number of employer functions. In case of a consortium (C), however, you can be assured that all the DOT and FMCSA regulations will be complied with. The Third Party Administrator (TPA) has the required skills and qualifications to conduct management and training DOT drug testing program, oversee its implementation, carry out random tests and fulfill all the duties with respect to maintaining a drug free workplace.

All the stages of the DOT drug testing program are managed and it is ensured that the procedures are as error free as possible. Drug testing requires the usage of a number of resources and the C/TPA tries to lessen wastage of resources by way of avoiding test cancellations. Reporting is an important part of drug testing program and to strengthen it, effective control measures are implemented. Delivering information is an important activity when it comes to implementation of drug testing programs. A drug testing consortium also ensures that they are capable of conducting such sensitive programs such as these by measuring their ability to be punctual when it comes to delivering information.

It is recommended that as an employer you should enter into a legal contract with your drug testing consortium so that both the parties are aware of their specific responsibilities. The U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance has come up with a publication that will guide an employer with respect to their considerations for going into a contract with third party administrators, namely - What Employers Need to Know About DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing.

In addition to performing the above mentioned tasks, a drug testing consortium also conducts the random testing by taking samples as required by the federal government. The samples are only sent to laboratories which are authorized and certified by NIDA and SAMSHA. The DOT drug testing program requires a consortium to be aware of employer requirements and responsibilities under 49 CFR Part 40 and Part 382. Awareness, skills and resources are the basic requirements of being an authorized consortium. As an owner-operator you need to be aware of the requirements as well. A consortium also acts as your information provider.

Employing a drug testing consortium can help your organization in meeting compliance norms of DOT drug testing program.

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