Self-Assessment Checklist

FTA Drug and Alcohol Regulation Updates
Issue 12, page 3

   The FTA regulations require reasonable suspicion, return to duty, and follow-up testing. To assist in clarifying or identifying these circumstances, the FTA has developed these checklists for use by employers in their program assessments. The checklists (on pages 3 and 4) include regulatory requirements, as well as “best practice” recommendations; they should not be construed as the “last word” in regulatory compliance - they merely provide guidance.

Reasonable Suspicion Checklist

   The FTA drug and alcohol regulations require testing for prohibited drugs and alcohol in the case that a trained supervisor has reasonable suspicion that a safety-sensitive employee has used a prohibited drug or misused alcohol as defined in the regulations.

  • Have the circumstances which warranted reasonable suspicion tests been justified using the minimum criteria specified in the regulation?
  • FTA regulations require a safety-sensitive employee to submit to a test when the employer has reasonable suspicion that the employee has used a prohibited drug or has misused alcohol as defined in the regulations. The request to undergo a reasonable suspicion test must be based on “specific, contemporaneous, articulable observations concerning the appearance, behavior, speech, or body odor of the safety-sensitive employee.”
  • If a supervisor, trained to identify the signs and symptoms of drug and alcohol use, reasonably concludes that objective facts may indicate drug use or alcohol misuse, this is sufficient justification for testing.
  • Is comprehensive documentation maintained for all reasonable suspicion tests for at least two years from the date of the incident?
  • Have all supervisors received the requisite reasonable suspicion training?
  • A supervisor who will be called upon to make a reasonable suspicion determination must be trained in the facts, circumstances, physical evidence, physical signs and symptoms, or patterns of performance and/or behavior that are associated with use. Supervisors must be trained in the proper procedures for confronting and referring the employee for testing.
  • Supervisors must receive 60 minutes of training on the signs and symptoms of drug abuse, and an additional 60 minutes of training on signs and symptoms of alcohol misuse.
  • Have only trained supervisors made reasonable suspicion determinations? Only a trained supervisor can make a reasonable suspicion determination. The term “supervisor” refers to the job function, not the job title. The supervisor that makes the actual observation does not have to be the employee’s direct supervisor, but can be any trained supervisor within the transit organization. The supervisors must receive reasonable suspicion training and be empowered to take action when they make a reasonable suspicion determination.
  • Are procedures in place to have employees proceed immediately to a collection site following a reasonable suspicion determination?
  • Is there a procedure in place to document alcohol tests that are delayed more than two hours? The employer must document the reasons if a test does not take place within two hours. Attempts to complete the test must cease after eight hours. Is there a procedure in place to document the circumstances that resulted in a failure to test because the eight hour time limit was exceeded?
  • Do you require only one supervisor to make a reasonable suspicion determination?
  • Are reasonable suspicion alcohol tests only performed just before, during, or just after the performance of a safety-sensitive job function?
  • Do you prohibit the supervisor who makes the reasonable suspicion determination from serving as the breath alcohol technician for the alcohol test or the specimen collector for the drug test?

(This information was excerpted from the Drug and Alcohol Program Self-Assessment Checklist developed for the Transportation Safety Institute by RLS & Associates, Inc.)

Where To Find?.....

49 CFR Part 654, Prevention of Alcohol Misuse in Transit Operation
February 15, 1994
Federal Register Vol. 59
Pages 7532-7571

May 10, 1995
Federal Register Vol. 60
Pages 24765-24766
Primary Topic: Suspension of Pre-employment Alcohol Testing

August 2, 1995
Federal Register Vol. 60
Pages 39618-39620
Primary Topic: Exemption of Volunteers and Post-Accident Testing Provision

December 8, 1998
Federal Register Vol. 63
Pages 67612-67613
Primary Topic: Use of Law Enforcement Post-Accident Test Results

December 14, 1998
Federal Register Vol. 63
Pages 68818-68819
Primary Topic: Random Alcohol Testing Rate at 10%

January 5, 1999
Federal Register Vol. 64
Pages 425-427
Primary Topic: Safety-Sensitive Maintenance Functions

Technical Corrections:
March 6, 1995
Federal Register Vol. 60
Pages 12296-12300
Primary Topic: Corrections and Clarifications

The information presented on this page should be used to update Chapters 6 and 9 of the Implementation Guidelines.

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