The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) follows DOT’s drug and alcohol testing program as a way to prevent and combat accidents and injuries caused by substance abuse. It is also a way to provide a drug-free workplace for all employees. Any person or organization who operates under the PHMSA must implement the drug and alcohol testing program set by DOT to ensure safety of building and handling pipeline facilities and transportation of hazardous materials.
Here are the basic questions and answers for the DOT drug and alcohol testing rules set for PHMSA:
Who are subject for DOT-PHMSA drug and alcohol testing?
DOT and PHMSA set the coverage of the program to include all employees (including contractors) who perform the following functions on a pipeline or on an LNG facility:
- And emergency-response
DOT drug testing and alcohol screening is performed during pre-employment, random, reasonable suspicion, return-to-duty and follow-up.
What are DOT-PHMSA drug and alcohol prohibitions?
All operators under PHMSA must comply with DOT alcohol screening and drug testing rules. For drug tests, a urine sample is tested for PCP, marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, and opiates. Drug use is prohibited at all times; depending on the case, employees tested positive of drug use must face a consequence set by the management.
For alcohol use, an employee is prohibited from consuming alcohol 4 hours before duty and during duty hours. When an employee is tested due to suspicion, he/she will be removed from duty if the breath alcohol concentration results to 0.02%-0.39%.
How are DOT drug testing and alcohol screening administered?
PHMSA pushes all organizations under them to comply with DOT’s drug and alcohol testing procedures. Drug tests are done starting with the collection of urine samples. A DOT urinalysis is needed to test for prohibited drugs and only a certified collector is allowed to administer tests. This is to ensure that all procedures are done properly and samples reach the laboratory without signs tampering.
For alcohol screening tests, only NHTSA certified EBTs and ASDs are used for testing alcohol concentration. A screening and confirmation test is administered by certified screening test technicians (STT) and breath alcohol technicians (BAT). All certified collectors, STTs and BATs are trained to properly administer tests to ensure that all documents and specimens are tamper-free.
What are the consequences for those who violate the prohibitions?
Employees who violate the prohibitions are removed from their duties. For alcohol tests with results 0.04% or higher, and those tested positive with prohibited drugs need to talk to a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) and undergo an evaluation if they can come back to work, go to a rehabilitation program, or permanently removed from the business.
For detailed information on DOT-PHMSA drug and alcohol testing program, go to: