By Chad Engle, Loss Prevention and Safety Specialist
Recently I have received a couple of questions regarding the DOT Clearinghouse and positive drug test results. Most Designated Employer Representatives (DERs) do not have a lot of experience dealing with positive drug test results, and that is a good thing. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions, much better if we get it right the first time.
By now, all counties with DOT random drug testing programs should be registered with the Clearinghouse as employers and your employees with CDLs should be registered as well. If you are unfortunate and have an employee test positive for drugs and/or alcohol you are required to report the violation to the Clearinghouse. Some member counties have designated their consortium/third party administrator (C/TPA) to assist with the reporting requirements, which is permissible, just keep in mind that ultimately it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure compliance. Be sure to communicate with your C/TPA so that you know what is and is not reported, your C/TPA can only report what they are aware of. If your alcohol tests are not conducted by your C/TPA or reported to them, they cannot report them to the Clearinghouse.
Your job is not complete just because the violation has been reported to the Clearinghouse. As an employer you still have all the other duties required by the DOT before the Clearinghouse was put in place. It is still the employer’s responsibility to remove the employee from safety-sensitive positions and to provide them with a list of Substance Abuse Professionals (SAPs). You will also need to follow whatever your employee handbook requires you to do for a failed drug or alcohol test.
Please take a minute and visit the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse Learning Center, the information is very easy to navigate based on whether you are an employee, employer, C/TPA, MRO or SAP. It will be time well spent.
CBD Products and the DOT
I would caution any employees that are subject to DOT drug testing that CBD use is not a “legitimate medical explanation” for a safety-sensitive employee who tests positive for marijuana. Hemp-derived products; CBD oils, lotions, gummies, etc. that contain less than 0.3% THC are no longer considered controlled substances. However, some of the products may contain a higher level of THC than what is on the label. There is no independent testing to ensure the labels are accurate and if the CBD use results in a positive DOT drug test there is no defense. To be able to drive a CMV again that driver will have to complete the Return-To-Duty
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1.800.640.6671 if you have any questions or would like to arrange for a training session.