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Risk Management Bulletin


By June 1, 2010No Comments

Every business needs an effective drug and alcohol testing program to meet compliance requirements, reduce its legal liability for accidents due to substance abuse, keep costs under control, and maintain effective employee relations. Evidential breath testing (EBT) plays an essential role in these programs. You can use your own certified employees, contract out for these services, or join a consortium of employers.

An in-house specimen-collection and testing program will cost time and money for buying and maintaining EBT devices, training employees, and keeping records. Because alcohol testing renders immediate results and in-house operations tend to risk disclosure, you risk violating your employees’ right to privacy. On the other hand, using third-party testers also has its drawbacks; you need to consider the reliability, quality, experiences, and resources of the organization.

Only a trained breath alcohol technician who passes a proficiency exam by the Department of Transportation can calibrate and maintain the EBT machine.

In addition, the machine must:

  • Meet National Highway Transportation Safety Agency standards
  • Print the results in triplicate, sequentially numbered, with the manufacturer’s name, device name, and serial number, and time and date of the test
  • Test “air blanks” before each screening;
  • Perform external calibration checks. It also needs recalibration after each positive confirmation test and at least once a month.

The EBT program must use labs approved by the Mental Health Services Administration, and testers must carry adequate insurance.

Random drug testing is mandatory for 50% of employees each year. Random alcohol testing must be performed on 25% of employees each year (depending on the rate of violations).

You need to remove drivers with a 0.02% breath alcohol concentration from their safety-sensitive position immediately. Drivers with a 0.04 % concentration can’t return to duty without evaluation by a substance abuse professional and treatment for alcohol misuse.