19 Oct DOT Extends Drug and Alcohol Remote Evaluations and Requalification to Dec. 31
On Sept. 22, 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) extended its COVID-19 drug and alcohol testing guidance to Dec. 31, 2020.
The extended guidance allows substance abuse professionals (SAPs) to perform remote assessments and evaluations and lengthens the requalification timeline for service agents through the end of the year.
This guidance provides SAPs and other service agents with the flexibility they need to help employers comply with existing DOT drug and alcohol regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Discretion to Perform Remote Evaluations by SAPs
DOT regulations require SAPs to perform in-person assessments and evaluations for employee violators. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DOT is allowing SAPs to conduct remote “face-to-face” assessments and evaluations with employees as necessary, if the remote assessment is documented on the final report and:
- The technology used permits real-time two-way audio and visual communication and interaction between the SAP and employee;
- The quality of the technology is sufficient to gather all the information SAPs would normally observe in an in-person interaction; and
- The SAP’s state licensing agency permits remote assessments and evaluations.
Requalification Flexibility for Service Agents for Timelines
The DOT also requires medical review officers (MRO), screening test technicians (STT), breath alcohol technicians (BAT) and SAPs to maintain their service agent qualifications for drug and alcohol testing.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the DOT is also stretching the timeline for service agents to renew their qualification credentials. As a result, service agents may continue to provide their services as long as they meet their requalification requirements within the extended deadlines.
• Refresher training for collectors, STTs and BATs must be completed every five years;
• MROs must be requalified every five years; and
• SAPs must complete 12 professional development hours every three years.
This extended guidance provides service agents with the flexibility they need to help employers comply with existing DOT drug and alcohol regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This Legal Update is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice. ©2020 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.