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Trucking Company Drug and Alcohol Policy – What Can Be Included?

10 November, 2023

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When it comes to the trucking industry, safety is of utmost importance. This includes ensuring that drivers are free from the influence of substances while on the road. Trucking businesses have a responsibility to protect their employees and the general public. This is why they put a trucking company drug and alcohol policy in place. Employers can include its objectives, like minimising safety risks. Moreover, they can provide the testing method they will utilise.

A testing policy helps prevent accidents. Moreover, it ensures that drivers are fit to operate heavy vehicles. Understanding the components of a policy is crucial for both organisations and workers. By having a clear knowledge of the regulations, companies can create a compliant work environment. Meanwhile, drivers can be aware of their rights and duties. The following sections will present the common objectives of a policy, the kinds of tests available, and the implications of a result.

Objectives of a Trucking Company Drug and Alcohol Policy

An objective of a trucking company drug and alcohol policy is to reduce safety risks. Additionally, it aims to eliminate the influence of substances in the workplace. These policies are in place to protect both the workforce and the public. This is because there are potential dangers associated with impaired workers. Compliance with alcohol rules, including maintaining a legal Blood Alcohol Concentration or BAC level, is crucial.

Trucking businesses implement comprehensive drug testing programs and alcohol management plans. These programs aim to detect and deter the use of illicit substances among drivers and other employees. Through these, employers can identify and address potential impairment issues before they pose a threat to the safety of commercial drivers and the transportation industry as a whole.

The overarching goal of a policy is to protect and maintain a productive work environment. Promoting the responsible consumption of alcohol and the avoidance of illicit drugs helps ascertain employees are fit for duty. Employers may include training and education programs in the policy. This is to raise awareness about drug and alcohol risks, as well as their impacts on impairment.

Reasons to Conduct a Test

Here are the reasons for the testing of safety-sensitive transportation employees in the trucking industry:

  • Pre-employment screenings – Employers do this to prevent hiring individuals who may pose a risk to the business.
  • Random testing – Workers are chosen at random to avoid bias and discrimination. Organisations can do this type of testing annually.
  • Post-accident testing – Companies administer a test on employees involved in a workplace accident. This determines if substances played a part in the situation. They can then take appropriate actions.
  • Reasonable suspicion testing – This is when a manager or a colleague has reasonable suspicion that an individual is under the influence.

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Types of Tests in a Trucking Company Drug and Alcohol Policy

Employers can include the testing method they will utilise in a trucking company drug and alcohol policy. Firstly, there is breath testing using a handheld breathalyser. An individual blows through its mouthpiece. It will calculate the BAC in their breath. Businesses can buy a workplace unit, which is cost-effective. They can use it at various times and on various people.

Secondly, there is urine testing. It is one of the most common kinds of test because it is more affordable than others and it is relatively non-invasive. Drivers need to provide a urine sample in a container. Thirdly, there is oral fluid testing. It is also an in-demand method due to its convenience and price. Collectors swab the insides of the cheeks for specimens.

Lastly, there is blood testing. It is considered the most accurate type of test to detect alcohol and drugs. A healthcare professional needs to draw blood from the arm or the finger. This kind is more expensive and intrusive. However, many rely on the trustworthiness of the results. Technicians take each sample to a lab to test it for the presence of various substances.

Can an Employee Refuse a Test

In safety-sensitive transportation industries, such as trucking, there are regulations in place that require employees to comply with testing procedures. This is typically a part of their employment condition. Refusing a test may result in serious consequences, including termination or suspension.

These testing programs are put in place to ensure the safety of both employees and the general public. By refusing a test, a worker may be seen as obstructing the efforts of a company to maintain a drug and alcohol-free workplace. Employees need to understand the potential risks and implications of refusing a test. Otherwise, it can have a significant impact on their employment.

A truck driver sitting while looking troubled

What Happens After a Positive Result in a Trucking Company Drug and Alcohol Policy

After conducting a test as part of a trucking company drug and alcohol policy, it is crucial to have protocols in place for handling non-negative results. Safety legislation imposes strict rules and regulations on transportation workers regarding substance use. If a test reveals the presence of illegal drugs or alcohol consumption that is above the legal BAC level, employers must take appropriate action.

Safety-sensitive employees, including commercial truck drivers, are subject to regular testing. If an employer receives a positive result, the policy typically requires immediate action. The management can suspend the privileges of the worker to perform safety-sensitive functions. Also, the employee may need to undergo a formal evaluation to determine whether they have a substance abuse problem.

The next steps usually involve offering the employee the opportunity to seek assistance for alcohol or drug misuse. This can include referring them to counselling or rehabilitation programs. These are specifically designed for individuals working in safety-sensitive positions. The employee may have to complete a treatment program and comply with ongoing testing requirements before returning to work.

Employee Assistance Program

An employee assistance program (EAP) plays a crucial role in a drug and alcohol policy. There are events when an employer receives a positive drug test or alcohol concentration above the legal limit. When this happens, the EAP offers employees the opportunity to seek assistance. This can be in the form of support groups.

The EAP serves as a support system for employees dealing with substance-related issues. It provides a structured pathway towards recovery. It ensures that individuals receive the necessary help and guidance. Through the EAP, trucking companies prioritise the well-being of their employees and address potential substance abuse problems effectively and compassionately.

Conclusion

Trucking company drug and alcohol policy protects employees, employers, and the general public. It outlines the guidelines that drivers and other workers need to follow. Businesses can choose from a variety of testing methods, such as breath, urine, oral fluid, and blood tests. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, companies should choose one that suits their culture and budget. After testing, a positive result may trigger a series of actions to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

Employers can offer employees access to specialized resources. For instance, there is the EAP that promotes a healthy work environment. At the same time, it reduces the risks associated with impaired workers in safety-sensitive roles. By actively managing and enforcing their drug and alcohol policy, trucking companies prioritise the well-being of all. For further protection, workers can buy tools such as a personal breathalyser. This can help them track their BAC level before going to work.

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