What Employers Need to Know about FAA Testing

Designated Employer Representatives make decisions about their aviation employer’s drug and alcohol testing program. Not only does the DER conduct drug and alcohol tests, but he or she also educates employees and ensures that the drug-testing program complies with FAA and DOT regulations. By ensuring all employees comply with required drug and alcohol testing regulations, DERs help maintain safety in the aviation industry.

Conduct random testing.

Employers must ensure that every safety-sensitive employee is in the random testing pool. This random testing pool is subject to a minimum annual testing rate, which the FAA publishes each December on its website. For at least two years, employers are required to maintain random testing records, which includes the list of employees in the random pool, the selection list, and documentation of the testing. The FAA recommends that employers establish a process for updating the random testing pool before each selection process.

Notify employees.

It’s essential for employers to make sure the selected employee and the collection site are available before notifying the employee to report for testing. For each selected employee, an employer needs to document notification to that employee and include any reason the employee might be excused from the random test. Small or single owned operations may find it very useful to outsource this process to a third party testing administrator who can help manage the random testing program.

Conduct follow-up test.

An employer may not conduct a return-to-duty test until receiving written initial and follow-up evaluation reports. This includes the substance abuse counselor’s follow-up testing plan. Before an employer allows the employee to return to duty, he or she must receive a negative return-to-duty test result. The follow-up testing plan must be administered in exact accordance with the substance abuse professional’s recommendations.

Since 1996, Oschmann Employee Screening Services has been a national leader in developing, managing, and servicing drug-free workplace programs. We help employers comply with DOT and FAA drug and alcohol testing requirements. Call (520) 745-1029 or (800) 224-8532 to learn about our Arizona drug testing services.

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