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The DOT regulations are designed to protect the public and to assist impaired employees with recovery issues.
WHAT IS THE RETURN TO DUTY PROCESS?
The return-to-duty process must be completed when an individual violates the Federal Department of Transportation alcohol and drug testing rules. Safety-sensitive-duties cannot be performed until the return-to-duty process is complete.
The return-to-duty process consists of the following:
1. An Alcohol and Drug evaluation with recommendations for treatment or education based on severity and need of the individual.
2. Once the treatment and/or education is completed a follow-up evaluation must be completed face-to-face (in person).
3. An aftercare program to test employee for the next twelve months or more for alcohol and/or drug abuse.
Federal Department of Transportation Alcohol and Drug Testing Rules
Department of Transportation regulations require that any safety-sensitive individual who refuses a test, can not provide the specimen in a timely manner, tests positive for drugs, or has a breath alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater must be immediately removed from duty and referred to a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP).
Substance Abuse Professionals Function in the Return-to-Duty Process
When you are referred to a DOT Qualified Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) following a DOT drug and alcohol regulation violation, the SAP has four primary functions:
1. The SAP must provide a comprehensive face-to-face assessment and clinical evaluation to determine what assistance, if any, the employee needs in resolving problems associated with prohibited drug use or alcohol misuse. Even though there is not a significant alcohol or drug problem or you just failed to show up at the test site. You will still have to complete some type of education.
2. The SAP must recommend a treatment or rehabilitation program as necessary and monitor the individual’s progress through the treatment program.
3. The SAP must determine when the individual has successfully completed the recommended treatment program through a face-to-face follow-up for compliance session and when they are ready to return to safety-sensitive duties.
4. The essential and primary function of the SAP is Public Safety.
" All clinical work and SAP recommendations for treatment or education will be
made with the public’s interest in mind first."
Education and Treatment
Appropriate education and treatment for Substance Abuse and Dependence Appropriate education modalities may include, but are not limited to, self-help groups (e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous) and community lectures, where attendance can be independently verified, and bona fide drug and alcohol education courses. Appropriate treatment modalities may include, but are not limited to, in-patient hospitalization, partial in-patient treatment, outpatient counseling programs, individual counseling, and aftercare programs.
Initial and Follow-Up Evaluations and Reports
Written reports will be made to you or the Designated Employee Representative (DER). The initial report will consist of what tests were used and the recommendations for education and or treatment. Once the treatment or education is completed a face to face follow up session will be held and then a follow-up report and aftercare testing plan is sent to the DER and or the other third-party to administer aftercare follow-up alcohol and or dug testing for the first 12 months up to five years. The aftercare testing schedule is confidential and will be sent to the DER and/or third-party administrator.
Employee Assistance Programs
Counseling for mental health, and or substance abuse is also available for NON-DOT clients and as part of your company’s EAP policy.