Impending Update to Federal Drug Screening Policies
June 1, 2023 by Keely Knopp
Mercy Occupational Medicine would like to inform employers of an impending update to federal drug screening policies for all DOT-regulated employees. Soon employers may be able to choose to opt for oral fluid collection (rather than urine collection) as their primary method for drug screening.
Because this change will leave the method for collection up to employers rather than individual employees, it is crucial to share this information with your human resources department and update all policies and procedures surrounding employee drug screenings to ensure a smooth transition to this new option.
Here are a few key points to verify or consider updating in your company’s policies:
Choice for Initial Collection: Employers will need to decide whether to opt for oral fluid collection or continue using urine collection as the primary method for drug screening.
Shy Bladder Protocol: Employers must determine how to proceed when an employee is willing but unable to provide a urine sample. Policies should outline whether to continue with urine collection (providing up to a three-hour waiting period) or switch to oral fluid collection for these cases.
Same-Gender Availability for Observed Collections: In cases where a same-gender collector is unavailable for observed collections, employers have the option to either send the employee to another location where this requirement can be met or switch to oral fluid collection.
Choice of Observed Tests: Employers must decide in company policies whether they prefer oral fluid or urine testing for observed tests. However, please note that all observed tests for transgender and non-binary individuals will utilize the oral fluid collection method.
Though this new policy is not yet in effect, we encourage employers to update all drug screening protocols at this time. Mercy Occupational Medicine is available to answer any questions related to oral testing, which is currently available for non-DOT drug screening.
As soon as the approved testing kit is announced and made available, Mercy Urgent Care and Occupational Medicine can begin implementing oral fluid testing in DOT drug screenings for your company — should you choose that option. Remember: Employees will not have the opportunity to choose. The choice of testing methodology will be at the employer’s discretion, as outlined in company policies and protocols.
If you have any questions about oral fluid testing, updating your policies or scheduling testing services, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our experienced staff is well-equipped to answer any questions you may have and provide the necessary support for updating your HR protocols accordingly. To learn more about how Mercy can guide you through this transition, contact Corie Bell or Jackie Ramos at email@example.com, or call 828.274.6707.