DOT Drug Testing & Safety-Sensitive Jobs

Beginning January 1, 2018, in addition to the existing DOT drug testing panel (that includes marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, phencyclidine (PCP), and opiates), you will also be tested for four semi-synthetic opioids (i.e., hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone).  Continue reading “DOT Drug Testing & Safety-Sensitive Jobs” »

DOT Four-Opioid Panel Testing Rule Finalized

The Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) made a final ruling November 10th on the proposed rules to include opioids in their drug testing panel for safety-sensitive employees. Originally proposed nearly a year ago, the ruling is now final and will go into effect on January 1, 2018. Continue reading “DOT Four-Opioid Panel Testing Rule Finalized” »

DOT Opioid Testing Proposal Final Review

The Trump Administration is finally working on finalizing a proposal to require opioid testing for transportation workers in certain positions. These positions include railroad engineers, pilots, air traffic controllers, truck drivers, and other employees who are subject to federal drug and alcohol testing regulations. Continue reading “DOT Opioid Testing Proposal Final Review” »

Opiates Involved in Fatal Pennsylvania AmTrak Crash

On Tuesday, October 10, 2017, the opioid crisis came into the public eye more clearly. House Democrats asked Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to require testing for four prescription opioids in transportation workers, like bus and truck drivers and railroad operators.  Continue reading “Opiates Involved in Fatal Pennsylvania AmTrak Crash” »

Recent Increase in U.S. Workers Testing Positive for Illicit Drugs


Recent data taken from millions of workplace-related drug tests shows that U.S. workers testing positive for illicit drug use is now at its highest level in a decade.

Detection of illicit drugs— ranging from marijuana to heroin to methamphetamine—increased both for the general workforce and the “safety-sensitive” workforce, which includes those operating large machinery such as truck drivers, pilots, subway engineers, ship captains and other transportation workers. Continue reading “Recent Increase in U.S. Workers Testing Positive for Illicit Drugs” »

Choosing the Right Panels For Your Company’s Drug Testing Program

Your employees can be your greatest asset–or your greatest liability. The average employer actually pays twice his employees’ salary in taxes, benefits, and training costs. And the cost for replacing a salaried employee is equivalent to six to nine months of their salary. If you’re going to invest in employees, you should make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth out of them.

One of the best ways to secure and protect your workforce investment is with drug testing services. Today, Test Smartly Labs will take a look at drug testing options for businesses in North Kansas City, Gladstone, and the Northland.

Continue reading “Choosing the Right Panels For Your Company’s Drug Testing Program” »

What if my employee uses drugs?


Just like drivers get speeding tickets – expect some employees to break your drug and alcohol rules.

Working to keep your workplace free of drugs and alcohol? Best practices say that an employee handbook and workplace policies regarding substance use (and substance abuse) need to be clearly posted and communicated.

But what if those policies are violated?

Although clearly communicating your rules and expectations may deter some substance abusers, there will still be the rule breakers out there. After all, drivers get speeding tickets every day despite speed limit signs.

Be prepared to address employee behavior if workplace policies are violated.

How to discipline employees

Your company culture and organizational structure will determine the best route for discipline. Workplace policies should outline the procedures taken in the event an employee violates the code of conduct.

Protect yourself and don’t leave discipline open-ended.

How the DOT handles drug and alcohol violations

One example of a workplace with tight regulations is a business that falls under the Department of Transportation (DOT) guidelines. The DOT has VERY strict regulations regarding employee drug and alcohol testing.

Drivers who engage in prohibited alcohol conduct must be immediately removed from safety-sensitive functions. Drivers who have engaged in alcohol misuse cannot return to safety-sensitive duties until they have been evaluated by a substance abuse professional and complied with any treatment recommendations to assist them with an alcohol problem. To further safeguard transportation safety, drivers who have any alcohol concentration (defined as 0.02 or greater) when tested just before, during or just after performing safety-sensitive functions must also be removed from performing such duties for 24 hours. If a driver’s behavior or appearance suggests alcohol misuse, a reasonable suspicion alcohol test must be conducted. If a breath test cannot be administered, the driver must be removed from performing safety-sensitive duties for at least 24 hours. – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The DOT leaves nothing to chance. Individuals are immediately removed from safety-sensitive positions for positive drug and alcohol tests.

Other ways to handle employees

Even if your workplace isn’t as regulated as the DOT, it’s smart to plan ahead and know how you will address employees who break the rules. A few things to consider:

  • Include employee disciplinary actions in all manager training.
  • Determine if certain positions carry greater consequences than others. (For example, those in safety-sensitive positions vs. those with “office jobs.”)
  • Determine if you will be flexible on the alcohol or drug test results.
  • If you refer employees to substance abuse counseling, have your resources lined up.
  • Determine a timeline and plan of action.

Can I fire an employee for using drugs?

As your forming drug and alcohol policies, we recommend legal council from a trusted attorney who understands your state’s labor laws. There are caveats to the law and many factors to consider when handling substance abuse in the workplace.

Just check out some of the workers comp laws in the state of Kansas – especially the areas pertaining to drug testing.

There’s not a simple “yes” or “no” answer to determining if employment needs terminated – although as an employer you do have the right to act upon misconduct. You’ll need to consider things like how the drug test is given, unacceptable limits for the test results, the position of the individual tested and the issue of unemployment benefits.

Work with a lawyer to determine what’s best for your workplace.

arcpointlabs_kc-logoCan I get help?

We know workplace drug and alcohol policies can be complicated and confusing. That’s why we’re here to help.

If you’re in the Lawrence, KS area and need help with:

Please contact any three of our Test Smartly Labs of Kansas City locations! You can reach us online or call (785) 542-6533.

DOT-Approved Bathrooms

If you’re in the transportation industry in Lawrence, KS you probably know all about DOT testing. If you employ individuals to drive your vehicles, you fall under regulations for DOT drug & alcohol testing. This program mandated by the federal government serves to protect drivers, employers, passengers and passersby. DOT testing involves following strict rules and regulations, with one of those being the restroom in which the urine sample is collected.

DOT-approved Single-Toilet Restrooms


DOT-approved restrooms require blue water in the toilet bowls.

It’s not enough to request a urine test from a job candidate or employee when you fall under DOT testing. The facility that collects the urine sample for the test must be compliant and follow DOT rules. One of those guidelines involves the actual restrooms themselves. Urine collection restrooms aren’t your ordinary restrooms. The DOT-approved restrooms are designed to avoid cheating the urine test by tampering with the sample.

DOT Restroom Guidelines

Our Lawrence, KS DOT-approved restrooms fall under the single toilet restroom guidelines. To be compliant by DOT guidelines, we’ve taken the following steps:

  • No water source in the restroom. The sink doesn’t work, and the toilet has blue water in it.
  • No soap. We don’t have any soap or cremes in the restroom.
  • No exit door. We don’t have any windows or exit doors in the collection restroom.
  • No trash cans or areas to stow away anything that could tamper with the sample.
  • Tape, lots of tape. We’ve taped our ceiling tiles, toilet tank, paper towel holders and any other areas that might be seen as “hiding” spots in the restroom. We check the tape before the test and immediately after the test.

In addition to the actual restroom itself, we always follow the DOT collection guidelines by:

  • Requesting a photo identification
  • Requiring the employee to remove any outer garments
  • Asking the individual to empty their pockets. If unwilling, we take alternative action
  • We do not allow any other employees to be present while collecting for the urine test
  • Employees must wash their hands before providing the urine test

As approved DOT-testing collection site, we have alternative actions we take if the individual is unwilling or suspected of tampering with the test.

It might seem extreme, but we understand how important it is to follow each DOT requirement step-by-step to guarantee accurate testing. It’s not just a procedure to follow, but in the end, it’s a life-saving requirement to which we gladly comply.