The DOT released a final rule on May 2nd, that approved oral fluid testing to be used in their regulated drug testing program. This final ruling comes into effect as of June 1, 2023 however can not be implemented until the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has certified at least two labs. There must be two labs certified as one must serve as the primary lab and the second to serve as the split specimen laboratory.
Once it comes into effect it means that employers have the choice of using either a urine sample for drug testing or an oral fluid sample, this will be up to the individual employers. In the situation where a second sample is required (due to temperature out of range or insufficient quantity) the employer could choose to change to the other sample collection type to complete the required testing.
Oral fluid testing will be the required type of testing for observed collections for transgender and non-binary individuals so will need to be made available at a minimum, in those testing situations.
This change means that Consortium/Third Party Administrators will need to ensure that they have updated, clear guidelines regarding the employer’s policy specifying which sample type will be used for regular collections, as well as direct observations, and in the instance of shy bladder and dry mouth situations. It will be important to make sure that each collection site has standing orders for that specific employer as to which type of testing to employ in each particular situation. Which type of testing is used will be up to the employer, not the employee, however as always, it is important that the employees are made aware of the testing which will be employed for the various situations.
It will still be up to the employer to determine when a refusal has taken place at the collection site after being given the information from the collector. This duty has always been the employer’s, though the collector is the one to pass on what occurred at the testing site, in the end it is always up to the employer whether or not to deem the situation a refusal. It is important to recall that for a pre-employment test if the employee doesn’t show up, or leaves before receiving their cup (for a urine sample) or the oral fluid device being unwrapped, this should NOT be deemed a refusal to test.
DOT collectors will now be required to acquire proficiency training in the particular type of oral fluid device(s) that they are going to be using as well as collector certification for DOT oral fluid collections. It will be very important to obtain this certification to make sure they have a good understanding of the approved ways to obtain the split specimen required as well as how to properly fill out the CCF with the expiry date of the device(s) being used. Using an oral fluid device past its expiration date will result in a Fatal Flaw. It will also be very important for the collectors to have all of the DER’s information on hand in case of a situation where it is unclear which type of specimen collection should be used.
DATAC is here to support your collector certification needs and our DOT Oral Fluid collector certification course is coming very soon. Stay tuned to make sure you are prepared for the implementation of the new type of collection.