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DER & Service Agents

Posted: May 7, 2014

DER & Service Agents

- - - As an employer, you are ultimately responsible for compliance with the DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations; therefore, you must ensure that the service agent you use meets all the DOT required qualifications before using the service agent. 

Service agents include collectors, STTs, BATs, laboratories, MROs, substance abuse professionals (SAP), C/TPAs, policy consultants, and trainers.  The DER has a responsibility to hire qualified service agents to perform services for the employer in order for the employer to stay compliant with the DOT Drug & Alcohol Testing Program requirements. 

Collector - A person who instructs and assists employees at a collection site, who receives and makes an initial inspection of the specimen provided by those employees, and who initiates and completes the CCF.

Screening Test Technician (STT) - A person who instructs and assists employees in the alcohol testing process and operates an ASD.  

Breath Alcohol Technician (BAT) - A person who instructs and assists employees in the alcohol testing process and operates an evidential breath testing device.

Laboratory - Any U.S. laboratory certified by HHS under the National Laboratory Certification Program as meeting the minimum standards of Subpart C of the HHS Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs; or, in the case of foreign laboratories, a laboratory approved for participation by DOT.

Medical Review Officer (MRO) - A person who is a licensed physician and who is responsible for receiving and reviewing laboratory results generated by an employer's drug testing program and evaluating medical explanations for certain drug test results.

Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) - A person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Consortium/Third-party administrator (C/TPA) - A service agent that provides or coordinates the provision of a variety of drug and alcohol testing services to employers. C/TPAs typically perform administrative tasks concerning the operation of the employers' drug and alcohol testing programs. This may include groups of employers joining together as a consortium for participation in a random testing program.

Policy Consultants – an individual who assists an employer with development of a compliant DOT Drug & Alcohol Testing Policy.

Trainer – an individual who provides training for any of the services needed for an employer to comply with the regulations to maintain a compliant DOT Drug & Alcohol Testing Policy.

The DER has the responsibility to check out the service agents and monitor them to insure they are providing services in compliance with the regulations.  DER’s should require service agents to provide documentation of their qualifications to perform services in compliance with DOT 49 CFR Part 40.

The DER remains responsible for compliance with all applicable requirements of the DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations, even when you use a service agent. If you violate DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations because a service agent has not provided services as our rules require, a DOT agency can subject you to sanctions. Your good faith use of a service agent is not a defense in an enforcement action initiated by a DOT agency in which your alleged noncompliance with a DOT agency drug and alcohol regulation may have resulted from the service agent's conduct. As an employer, you must not permit a service agent to act as your DER.