Random drug tests are one of the best ways to make sure drugs are not an issue in your workplace. When drug tests are randomized, every employee understands his or her responsibility to be sober and knows the consequences of violating that expectation. Randomized testing is also fair to your entire team and gives employees an easy way of avoiding social pressure to take drugs since they can blame workplace testing. If you’re interested in setting up a randomized drug testing program in your workplace, the Department of Transportation, or DOT, recommends these strategies.

Know Your Randomized Rate Requirements

The DOT requires randomized testing for safety-sensitive employees, but the rate at which you are required to test varies between transportation industries. The rates change annually, and they can always be found on the DOT website. There are different randomized test rates for drug and alcohol testing. Keep in mind that these rates are minimum requirements. You can decide the rates that are appropriate for your company, as long as you meet these minimum standards.

Test According to Job Function

To meet DOT requirements for random drug testing, you should decide who to include in the random pool according to their job function. Anyone with a safety-sensitive position, regardless of their job title, should be subject to random drug tests, according to DOT guidelines. You can have a separate randomized test policy at your business that includes other people in the test pool, but if your purpose is to set up a DOT-compliant randomized test program, then you should only include safety-sensitive roles.

Make Test Selection and Timing Unpredictable

Everyone in your test pool should have the same chance of getting selected for a test, and tests should take place on different days for each round. Generally, tests should be performed quarterly, but within each quarter, the date should be unpredictable.

If you need help setting up or executing a random drug testing program, call HDS Safety Services. Our safety and compliance experts in Tucson can help you build the right testing program for your company’s needs. For more information, call (520) 622-0419.

It’s an employer’s responsibility to identify all potential hazards, and to ensure that the company meets state and federal compliance requirements. Depending on your company and industry, some of those hazards may include hazardous materials. In addition to providing rigorous initial training for employees who will handle hazardous materials, your company can protect your workers by providing frequent reminders and continuing training opportunities.

Check for container labeling.

Before handling any container that may contain hazardous materials, employees should always check the label. Any container that is damaged lacks a label, or has an illegible label should be promptly reported to the supervisor. The labeling information, along with the MSDS information will alert employees to the potential hazards and necessary precautions.

Use personal protective equipment (PPE).

Employees must be provided with the proper PPE and trained on its use. Employees should get into the habit of carefully inspecting all PPE items prior to use. Worn out or damaged PPE should be replaced promptly, as it won’t provide sufficient protection from hazardous materials.

Prevent contamination and cross-contamination risks.

Employees should be provided with the necessary cleaning equipment in order to keep their work surfaces clean. All work surfaces should be cleaned at least once per shift to reduce the risk of contamination. Employees should be reminded to wash up with soap and water after handling any hazardous materials. They should also be reminded to avoid eating or drinking anything or handling cosmetics or contact lenses if there is a possibility that their hands are contaminated.

Understand emergency protocols.

Every company must have established emergency protocols. These should include evacuation procedures, emergency reporting procedures, and protocols for handling fires, spills, and chemical toxicity. All new employees should be thoroughly trained on these procedures, and additional training may be conducted to remind veteran employees.

HDS Safety Services is a trusted provider of comprehensive transportation industry safety and compliance solutions. We build, audit, and maintain driver qualification files, and conduct federal and state audits of company-wide safety programs. Partner with HDS Safety Services today by calling our headquarters in Tucson at (520) 622-0419.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires certain supervisors to undergo training in reasonable suspicion. This requirement covers supervisors working in the trucking, airline, transit, railroad, pipeline, hazardous materials, and maintenance of way sectors. Reasonable suspicion training empowers supervisors to make appropriate decisions regarding the drug and alcohol testing of employees.

Understanding Reasonable Suspicion Testing

Safety-sensitive employees are required to undergo drug and alcohol testing at certain times, such as when they are hired. Additionally, supervisors may initiate reasonable suspicion testing if a safety-sensitive employee is showing possible indicators of drug or alcohol misuse. Reasonable suspicion testing is intended to protect the public welfare by identifying and handling employees who are misusing alcohol or drugs, and by serving as a deterrent to reduce the risk of alcohol and drug abuse in safety-sensitive sectors.

Exploring Reasonable Suspicion Training

Federal code requires supervisors to undergo two hours of reasonable suspicion training. One of these training hours covers alcohol misuse. The second covers illegal drug use.

Identifying the Components of Reasonable Suspicion

In the training course, supervisors will learn about the criteria for making a reasonable suspicion testing determination. All test determinations must be made on the basis of the supervisor’s objective and specific observations of the employee. A “gut feeling” is not an adequate basis to initiate reasonable suspicion testing. Rather, if called upon, the supervisor must be able to articulate observations about the employee’s behavior, speech, body odors, or appearance. These observations should be suggestive of alcohol misuse, illegal drug use, or drug or alcohol withdrawal. It should be noted that the supervisor must directly make these observations. It is insufficient for the supervisor to rely on secondhand reports from other sources, such as other employees.

HDS Safety Services is pleased to offer comprehensive and customizable training courses for drivers and supervisors. Supervisors are invited to enroll in our reasonable suspicion training course, available both online and in-person. Call our office in Tucson at (520) 622-0419 for additional information about DOT-certification in reasonable suspicion.

Electronic logging devices, or ELDs, are designed to replace paper records for hours of service (HOS) and records of duty status (RODS) reports. The devices are more convenient for drivers, and they are also more reliable, which in turn helps prevent situations in which drivers are pressured to drive for more hours than the DOT considers to be safe. Most truck drivers are required to use ELDs, except for those in vehicles manufactured before 2000 and those who use short-haul, timecard exceptions. Many drivers and transportation companies have questions about ELDs and compliance issues. These answers may help you better understand the rules.

What is the difference between ELDs and AOBRDs?

Automatic onboard recording devices, or AOBRDs, were introduced in 1988, and they represented a huge leap forward for the DOT in tracking hours of operation for drivers and in monitoring vehicle location. However, technology has become outdated, which is why the transition to ELDs is required. ELDs have several features that AOBRDs do not. Some of the things that become standard with ELD use are recording location information every 60 minutes and notifications when drivers hit HOS limits.

How many ELD accounts can a driver have with his or her motor carrier company?

Motor carrier companies can only assign one ELD account to each driver. The ELD accounts should be linked to a driver’s license number, and the device should prevent one number from being used for multiple accounts. Motor carriers are also required to have a password-protected security process for logging in for their drivers.

What happens if drivers or carriers violate ELD rules?

Violations can be costly for drivers and carriers alike. Fines can be significant, and in some cases, the vehicle will be placed out of service and may be required to be towed. Vehicles can be placed out of service for 10 hours per violation, resulting in a significant loss of driving hours.

Has your ELD transition been bumpy, or do you need assistance in making sure you are in compliance? HDS Safety Solutions is here to help. Talk to a DOT compliance expert and learn more about ELD auditing in Tucson today by calling (520) 622-0419.

In the workplace, having a comprehensive safety and compliance program is not just required by federal law—it is also good for business. A strong program will help to keep your team safe, prevent delays for your customers caused by compliance issues, and reduce the risk that your company will run afoul of federal and state safety regulations. This is especially true if your business is subject to DOT guidelines. Here is a closer look at the pieces of a comprehensive safety and compliance program that will protect your business and meet DOT regulations.

Training and Qualifications

All of your employees should receive appropriate training for their roles based on your specific company needs and any DOT requirements for their positions. This includes training in maintenance, inspections, and hours and service rules. It is also important for your company to have a system for vetting the qualifications of applicants and managing those qualifications for all employees, to ensure that the qualifications are legitimate and up to date.

Drug and Alcohol Testing

A rigorous drug and alcohol testing program are essential for any business involved in transportation, and most other industries can benefit from this kind of testing program as well. Your drug and alcohol program should include pre-employment screenings, random testing for employees, and reasonable suspicion testing protocols.

Auditing

Auditing is an important part of ensuring that you and your employees remain compliant with DOT regulations and your internal standards. This includes electronic logging device auditing as well as general auditing of your practices and the effectiveness of your safety and compliance initiatives.

HDS Safety Service can administer a safety and compliance program for your company, so you can focus on the logistics of running your business. Talk to one of our compliance experts in Tucson about your company’s needs by calling (520) 622-0419.

Drug and alcohol testing are important parts of maintaining a safe working environment for many businesses, especially those companies that are subject to DOT regulations. Both reasonable suspicion and random testing play roles, but what is the difference between them, and how should they be applied?

Reasonable Suspicion Testing

Reasonable suspicion testing—also called cause testing—is, as the name suggests, performed when there is a reason to believe that an employee is using drugs or alcohol. Reasonable suspicion testing is used on both DOT-regulated companies and non-DOT businesses, but there are very tight rules that apply to how it can be applied.

First, your workplace must have a clear drug and alcohol policy that has been provided to employees and that they acknowledge receiving. This policy should state the procedure for reasonable suspicion testing, how and when it can be applied, and who can order it. Generally, this kind of testing can be ordered when there are signs of impairment on the job, but the symptoms must be observed by a supervisor—not simply reported by another employee—and the reasons for ordering a test must be documented. Following these guidelines is essential for avoiding legal complications regarding improper reasonable suspicion testing.

Random Testing

Random drug and alcohol testing are done without warning or pattern, in the absence of any indicators of substance abuse. This kind of testing is required by the DOT for employees who work in safety-sensitive fields. For example, truck drivers are subject to random testing.

Employees who are subject to DOT rules are required to comply with all random drug and alcohol testing requests. Refusing to do so can result in removal from duty.

Drug and alcohol testing requirements can be complex, but HDS Safety Services can help you navigate the process while building a safer workplace. For drug and alcohol testing Tucson, please call (520) 622-0419.

DOT-compliant drug testing programs are intended to protect the safety of everyone on the roadways. Drivers who hold CDL licenses may be required to undergo drug and alcohol testing after they get into an accident. Since not all substances remain in the body for prolonged periods of time, post-accident testing should be done as quickly as possible.

Must drivers be suspended pending the results?

Ultimately, a driver is always subject to any restrictions placed by law enforcement officials, or by the FMCSA or DOT regulations. However, if a particular driver is not subject to restrictions from these agencies, then he or she can continue driving while awaiting the results of the post-accident drug screen. Individual employers may have different policies in place.

When must alcohol tests be performed?

Under Federal Code 382.303, an alcohol test should be administered as soon as practicable. If an alcohol test cannot be administered within two hours of the accident, the employer is legally required to create and maintain a record that states the test was not administered within this time period. If the alcohol test is not administered within eight hours, employers must cease trying to get the test administered. They must also prepare and maintain an official record to that effect.

What happens if the surviving driver is injured?

Federal Code 382.303 states that drivers are required to remain readily available for testing, or else the employer will record them as refusing to submit to testing. However, there is an exception. The regulations do not require drivers to delay seeking necessary medical attention in order to get to a testing facility. The same exception applies to drivers who need to obtain accident response assistance.

 

When must controlled substance tests be performed?

The regulations require controlled substance tests to be performed within 32 hours of an accident. Since substances degrade in the body over time, it is not expected that employers will continue to try to arrange for testing after this point. If the test isn’t properly administered, the employer is required to create and maintain a record to that effect.

 

Post-accident drug testing is one of the many DOT-compliant services we provide here at HDS Safety Services. You can call our office in Tucson at (520) 622-0419 for the answers to all of your questions about drug and alcohol testing.

Electronic log device technology—or ELD—is the new normal for drivers who are under a mandate to record their duty status and who are involved in interstate commerce. Drivers who were not eligible for an extension had to adopt ELD technology by December 18, 2017, and all drivers must be used by December 16, 2019. Many operators have questions about making the transition to using ELDs. Here are the answers to some common queries to surround this change.

Why is ELD being implemented?

ELD simply automates a process that has always been required. In the past, drivers had to record their own hours of service. Now, the ELD will do that automatically. Additionally, the ELDs will track the amount of time the engine is on, how many miles were driven when the vehicle was in motion and the duration of engine operation. All of these factors will give a more accurate record of hours of service (HOS) for drivers, which makes the recordkeeping easier for businesses. Likewise, law enforcement can easily access ELD data when necessary.

Who is exempt from the implementation?

Ultimately, very few drivers will be exempt from using ELDs. Drivers whose vehicles are equipped with Automatic On-Board Recording Devices (AOBRDs) can delay their transitions to ELDs until December 16, 2019. Drivers who currently operate under short-haul exemptions for recordkeeping or who use paper records for eight or fewer days out of 30 are also exempt. ELDs are not required for drivers who do driveway/tow-away operations or whose vehicles were made before 2000 and don’t support ELDs are also exempt.

How can companies benefit from ELD auditing?

ELD auditing can provide daily HOS records for drivers, so motor carriers are aware of any potential violations. This can help companies avoid costly fines and intervene when drivers are exceeding their HOS allowances.

 

HDS Safety Services provides extensive EDL auditing services, including driver counseling and HOS training, to ensure safety and compliance for motor carriers. Find out more about implementing EDL auditing by calling (520) 622-0419.

For the first time in more than 20 years, the federal agency responsible for motor carrier regulation has issued official guidance on personal conveyance. That’s where a commercial truck or bus driver can operate the vehicle while off duty and isn’t subject to on-duty hours restrictions. Personal conveyance can be a bit confusing for some drivers and carriers. Please see this article written by Aaron Marsh at FleetOwner.com for more details.

https://www.fleetowner.com/resource-center/regulations/article/21702550/10-things-to-know-about-personal-conveyance

Under DOT rules, employees are in violation of safety requirements when they have a positive drug or alcohol test or if they refuse to undergo testing. When this occurs, employees must be immediately removed from any safety-sensitive tasks. If employers fail to remove employees from safety-sensitive work after a violation, they may be fined up to $10,000 per day. After a violation, employees can choose to work outside the transportation industry, but before returning to any safety-sensitive functions within the transportation field, they must undergo the official return-to-duty process set by the DOT. Here is an overview of the requirements for returning to duty after a violation.

Clinical Evaluation

After a violation, substance abuse professional—or SAP—must oversee the return-to-duty process. SAP will first conduct a clinical evaluation of the employee. After the evaluation, the SAP is required by the DOT to recommend a treatment or education plan. An outline of this plan is then provided to the employer by the SAP so that the company understands what the employee must complete before he or she can be cleared to return to work.

Treatment Completion

The employee must complete the program designed by the SAP. During the treatment process, the SAP will monitor the employee’s progress and ensure he or she is complying with all recommendations. Once the employee has made progress through the treatment plan, the SAP will schedule another appointment for a clinical evaluation. During this appointment, the SAP will determine if the employee has complied with the treatment plan and has made sufficient progress. He or she will advise the employer if the employee has complied with treatment or if the employee cannot be considered for return to duty.

Drug and Alcohol Testing

If the SAP has said that the employee has complied with the treatment plan, the employer can arrange a return-to-duty drug or alcohol screening test. If the test is negative, the employer can return the employee to safety-sensitive duties.

 

The return-to-duty process is complex, but HDS Safety Services can facilitate return-to-duty testing as part of a broader drug and alcohol testing program for your business. Find out more about how we can help you comply with DOT requirements for workers and keep your workplace safe by calling (520) 622-0419.

Business is always competitive, but the stakes are higher when you work on the road. Veteran drivers know how to avoid accidents and damages on the road, but new hires aren’t always as savvy. Keep reading for some tips on choosing qualified drivers for your business.

Run Background Checks
When you hire someone to work on your team, you acknowledge that the person will represent your company. If you want to keep your company’s name in good standing and your business on track, you should find out as much as you can about anyone you bring on board. Background checks give you some insight that can help you decide if a person is going to be an asset or a setback to your company. Use these checks to guide your decisions so you can keep moving ahead.

Use Drug Screening
Drug use hurts everyone, and your company and your clients are no exception. If you hire someone who can’t do his or her job because of a drug problem, you’ll still be held accountable for your late deliveries and any other mishaps that may happen. That’s why it’s a good idea to screen your new hires for drugs before you hire them. It’s also mandated by the DOT.

Hire Professionals
You might not have the time to screen each individual employee before hiring, but you can hire another company to get the job done. Work with a company that specializes in pre-employment qualifications to make sure you’re picking the best candidate out of the pool to add to your team of professionals.

Every commercial driving company in the industry should have qualified drivers, and at HDS Safety Services, we can help you choose the best people for your team. Give us a call at (520) 622-0419 or browse through our website if you’d like to learn about our company.

You want to know as much about your employees as possible, even before you hire them. This way you can make the most informed decision and create a team that’s suited to carry out your mission. Hiring the right team means limiting injuries, damages, and accidents, and helping people make the most of themselves. Continue reading and see why pre-employment drug screening is necessary.

Building the Right Team
You need to know who you’re bringing on board, which is why background checks and drug tests are standard procedure for the hiring process in many cases. Pre-employment drug screening helps you hand pick exactly the people you want to represent your brand and carry your business forward. Bringing someone with a drug problem onto the team can be bad for your business, your team morale, and the employee that you hire.

Avoiding Accidents
A drug-free workplace stands to be more productive and efficient, which is crucial if you want to stay ahead of the competition. No matter what kind of business you run, chances are someone else runs a similar business, so make sure your team is in top shape to attract and keep your customers. Pre-employment drug screening makes it easier to do this. Accidents set you back, damage inventory, and can sideline employees due to injury, so do your best to avoid them.

Helping People
Addiction is a disease, and it’s a difficult one to deal with. Pre-employment drug screening makes it clear that your business won’t tolerate drugs, which can motivate drug users to try to kick the habit, so they can be employed at your company.

If you’re looking for qualified professionals to help you craft the best team possible, contact HDS Safety Services. Our drug screening services can help you identify the best candidates for the job. Give us a call at (520) 622-0419 or look through our website.