Random tests should be a key part of your drug-free workplace program since they deter employees from using drugs and misusing alcohol. Unless you are regulated by
the Federal Railroad Administration, you don’t need to submit a random testing plan to the Department of Transportation (DOT). However, it is a good idea for you to have a written plan to help you to objectively and consistently apply your program.
Each DOT agency sets the random rates for drug and alcohol testing in the industry it regulates. These testing rates are minimums. You can choose to set higher random testing rates for your company. So, if a DOT agency requires a drug testing rate of 50 percent and an alcohol testing rate of 10 percent, then an employer with 100 safety sensitive employees would have to ensure that 50 or more random drug tests and 10 or more random alcohol tests were conducted during the calendar year.
This doesn’t mean that you necessarily will give random drug tests to 50 different employees or random alcohol tests to 10 different employees. Some might be picked
and tested more than once, and others not at all. It’s just that each time there is a random selection, all employees have an equal chance to be selected and tested.
What makes random testing so effective is the element of surprise. While employees know they will be tested, they are never quite sure of when. Random selections
and testing should be performed at least quarterly. Some employers are selecting and testing more frequently, which is a good idea.
To learn more about the “Best Practices for DOT Random Drug and Alcohol Testing,” download the PDF at www.dot.gov/ost/dapc/testingpubs/randomtestin brochure.pdf. For more information on DOT drug testing, call the Association’s HR Hotline at 814/833-3200 or 800/815-2660.