Are Regulated Drug Screens Right for Your Business?

Michael Galvan

Certain safety-sensitive job roles are required by federal law to be subject to drug and alcohol testing. These tests are known as regulated drug tests.

Drugs screen in 5-panel regulated tests

Regulated drug tests must be performed through the collection of a urine sample to screen for these five mandated drug classifications:

  1. Marijuana metabolites
  2. Cocaine metabolites
  3. Amphetamines
  4. Opioid metabolites
  5. Phencyclidine (PCP)

Safety-sensitive industries that require drug tests

Regulated drug and alcohol testing is required under the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 for all safety-sensitive transportation employees in:

  • Aviation
  • Commercial vehicle operations
  • Railroads
  • Mass transit
  • Pipelines

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides links to the transportation agencies and organizations with mandatory regulated drug testing, which are:

  • Federal Aviation Administration: pilots, flight crew members, flight attendants, flight Instructors, air traffic controllers, aircraft dispatchers, aircraft maintenance ground security, etc.
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: commercial vehicle drivers
  • United States Coast Guard: operators of a commercial vessel.
  • Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration: pipeline workers
  • Federal Railroad Administration: railroad personnel, signal service, and train dispatchers
  • Federal Transit Administration: transit operators, controllers, mechanics, and armed security

When regulated drug tests are required

Safety-sensitive transportation employers are required to conduct drug and alcohol tests at these times:

  • Upon hire or transfer into a position with safety-sensitive functions
  • Whenever there is reasonable doubt or suspicion of substance use in the workplace or of the employee being under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the workplace
  • Immediately following an employee’s involvement in an accident
    • Each Department of Transportation (DOT) agency has its own definition of an accident or crash requiring regulated drug testing. Not all accidents require regulated drug testing.
  • Before being allowed to return to work following a drug or alcohol violation
  • Randomly, according to rates published yearly by DOT for each agency

SAMHSA also describes drug and alcohol testing requirements in security-sensitive industries where Department of Defense and Nuclear Regulatory Commission rules apply. In addition, federal employees involved in law enforcement, public health and safety, and protection of national security, life and property are subject to mandatory, regulated drug and alcohol testing under Executive Order 12564.

Regulated drug tests: check applicable state laws

State laws and regulations on drug testing may vary. You should consult an attorney or human resources professional to learn the specific requirements in your state. To learn more about regulated drug testing for your business, contact Concentra.