|Are you a pipeline and hazardous materials employee who received a PHMSA failed drug test notification?
Do you know how to save your career with the SAP return-to-duty program? 🤔
In a rush? 🚀 Just click the link below to jump to the most Frequently Asked Questions section!👇
Were you told to contact a SAP counselor?
Do you know how to find a DOT SAP program near you?
Did anyone explain how the DOT SAP return-to-duty program is designed to help you return to your job safely?
In short, employees who work under the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) are required to undergo a DOT approved SAP return-to-work program before you are eligible to resume safety-sensitive duties.
Finding a highly-recommended SAP counselor near you is not the kind of thing you want leave up to a random search on Google as your health and career are in jeopardy!
We created this guide to ensure PHMSA employees are aware of all pipeline drug testing regulations as well as best practices for failed or refused random and pre-employment drug tests in Texas.
|PHMSA Regulation Summary
|PHMSA Drug Testing Guidelines
|PHMSA employees must undergo a DOT approved Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) return-to-work program before resuming safety-sensitive duties. The DOT utilizes a 5-panel drug and alcohol test that checks for Marijuana, Cocaine, Opiates, Amphetamines and methamphetamines, and Phencyclidine.
|PHMSA Drug Testing Failure
|Failure results in immediate removal from safety-sensitive functions, as per Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 199. The employee cannot return to these functions until they successfully complete the DOT return-to-duty process, which includes evaluation, treatment, and follow-up testing.
|Pipeline and Gas Transportation Industry Regulations
|Part 192 focuses on pipelines used to transport natural gas and other gas. Part 193 regulates liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities used in transportation by pipelines under Part 192. Part 195 concerns pipelines used to transport hazardous liquids or carbon dioxide.
|DOT SAP Return-to-Duty Costs
|The employer is not required to pay for treatment or rehabilitation, or to return the employee to safety-sensitive duties. Some employers offer EAP programs to offset the cost. Expect to pay approximately $400-$500 for a DOT qualified SAP.
|DOT SAP Return-to-Duty Process
|The process includes a thorough substance abuse evaluation, a course of education and/or treatment, a follow-up evaluation to ensure compliance with initial recommendations, a return-to-duty drug test, and meeting ongoing requirements to maintain safety, which includes follow-up testing and other requirements as stipulated by the SAP and the employer.
|PHMSA Resources Available
|Understanding the return-to-duty process, employer’s obligations, and knowing the resources available can make navigating a PHMSA failed drug test easier. Seeking expert advice from a DOT qualified SAP is recommended.
PHMSA Background Check Requirements
PHMSA regulations require pipeline and hazardous materials companies under its jurisdiction to implement rigorous drug and alcohol testing programs.
The DOT utilizes a 5 panel drug and alcohol protocol that detects five classes of drugs:
- Opiates – opium and codeine derivatives
- Amphetamines and methamphetamines
The goal of the PHMSA drug test panel is to ensure a drug-free and safe workplace, especially since PHMSA employees are often responsible for the safe transport of hazardous materials.
However, under the broader DOT (Department of Transportation) regulations, certain employees in safety-sensitive positions are subject to background checks, specifically when it comes to drug and alcohol violations.
This is often referred to as a DOT Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP).
Under the PSP:
- Employers can access 5 years of an applicant’s crash history and 3 years of their roadside inspection history from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS).
- Employers can review an applicant’s drug and alcohol violation history in the FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. This database provides information about violations of the FMCSA’s drug and alcohol testing program.
PHMSA regulations do include a requirement for drug and alcohol testing for safety-sensitive positions, which includes pre-employment testing, random testing, post-accident testing, return-to-duty testing, and follow-up testing.
As for broader background checks (like criminal history, financial checks, etc.), these would typically depend on the individual employer’s hiring policies and state laws.
PHMSA Failed Drug Test Consequences
A failed PHMSA drug test results in immediate removal from safety-sensitive functions, thereby impacting both the individual and the pipeline industry at large.
Meeting the DOT return-to-duty process requirements can be challenging, particularly for first-time offenders.
This is outlined in Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 199.
The rule specifies that the employee cannot return to these functions until they successfully complete the DOT return-to-duty process, which includes evaluation, treatment, and follow-up testing.
The PHMSA Drug and Alcohol (D&A) testing regulations detailed in 49 CFR Part 199 mandate operators of pipeline facilities subject to 49 CFR Part 192, Part 193, and Part 195 to test covered employees for the presence of prohibited drugs and alcohol.
Each part regulates different aspects of the pipeline and gas transportation industry.
Part 192 is focused on pipelines used to transport natural gas and other gas.
On the other hand, Part 193 regulates liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities used in the transportation of gas by pipelines subject to the pipeline safety regulations in Part 192.
Finally, Part 195 is concerned with pipelines used to transport hazardous liquids or carbon dioxide.
While it is important for employees who have failed a DOT drug test to understand these regulations, it’s even more crucial to find an experienced DOT SAP counselor who can answer your questions and explain each step in the process.
Cost of the SAP Return to Duty Program
The PHMSA employer is not required to provide rehabilitation, pay for treatment, or to return the employee to safety-sensitive duties even upon successful completion of the return-to-duty process.
Some employers offer EAP programs to offset the cost of the DOT SAP return-to-duty program, so employees should inquire about this potential benefit with their employer.
The cost of a DOT qualified Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) can vary based on several factors, including geographical location, level of experience, and the complexity of your individual case.
Expect to pay approximately $400-$600.
Recovering from a PHMSA Failed Drug Test
Entering the SAP return-to-duty program after a PHMSA failed drug test involves multiple stages.
First, a thorough substance abuse evaluation is conducted by a DOT qualified Substance Abuse Professional (SAP), which could include a history of arrests or convictions related to substance abuse.
A SAP may also inquire about the person’s current employment situation and involvement in personal hobbies or interests.
These can act as potential distractions from substance use, providing positive channels for energy and time.
A key part of this discussion will involve understanding the individual’s goals for treatment.
- Becoming completely substance-free.
- Learning coping mechanisms to prevent relapses.
- Improving relationships damaged by substance use.
The SAP may recommend a course of education and/or treatment to address the issues leading to the failed drug test.
After completion of this course, a follow-up evaluation ensures compliance with the initial recommendations.
A return-to-duty drug test is then necessary, along with meeting ongoing requirements to maintain safety in the pipeline industry, which typically includes follow-up testing and other requirements as stipulated by the SAP and the employer.
PHMSA Failed Drug Test
Navigating a PHMSA failed drug test can be challenging, but being prepared and informed makes the journey easier.
Whether you’re in the pipeline industry or other safety-sensitive sectors, understanding the return-to-duty process and your employer’s obligations can make a significant difference.
Also, knowing the resources available, such as where to find a DOT qualified SAP, could be a lifesaver in unexpected situations.
DOT SAP Return to Duty Program
You should expect the DOT SAP return to duty process to follow the four steps listed below, although the duration of the program will be determined by the circumstances and severity of your violations.
- Initial Evaluation:
- The SAP evaluates the nature and extent of your substance misuse.
- Recommendations for treatment and/or education are made based on the evaluation.
- Treatment and Education Programs:
- Follow the prescribed treatment program.
- The program’s length and content vary based on individual circumstances.
- Follow-Up Evaluation:
- Once the program is completed, a follow-up evaluation is conducted.
- The SAP assesses your progress and readiness to return to work.
- Return-to-Duty Process:
- After a successful follow-up evaluation, the return-to-duty process begins.
- This includes a return-to-duty test and follow-up testing.
Frequently Asked Questions 🙋♂️
Can I talk to a SAP counselor for free?
Yes! A client can call a SAP counselor at no cost with questions about their particular violations, financial circumstances, or even to get to know the counselor better.
Search SAPList to find a SAP counselor near you using your zip code.
How much does a DOT SAP program cost?
The DOT SAP program will cost around $600, depending on your specific violation(s) and the recommended education and treatment plan.
Where can I find help after failing a PHMSA drug test in Texas?
What is the random drug testing rate for PHMSA in 2023?
The PHMSA actually decreased its annual random drug testing rates from 50% to 25% in 2023.
Is the DOT switching to saliva drug test?
On May 2, 2023, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced its approval of oral fluid (mouth swab) drug testing, effective June 1, 2023.
When is alcohol testing conducted under 49 CFR Part 199, Subpart C?
Post-accident (after a PHMSA reportable accident)
Return-to-duty (after failing or refusing an alcohol test)
Follow-up (according to SAP instructions after passing a return-to-duty test)
When is PHMSA drug testing conducted under 49 CFR Part 199, Subpart B?
Pre-employment (new hires and employees transferring into a covered position)
Post-accident (after PHMSA reportable accident)
Return-to-duty (after failing or refusing a drug test)
Follow-up (according to SAP instructions after passing a return-to-duty test)
|If you failed a drug test and need to find a DOT qualified SAP near you, search SAPList using your local zip code or schedule a SAP evaluation online by clicking appointment or call 817-781-7235 to speak with a SAP counselor in Texas. 👨💻