The Department of Transportation (DOT) will publish in tomorrow’s edition of the Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) (pdf) to amend certain drug-testing procedures to conform them to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) laboratory drug-testing requirements. According to a summary of the NPRM, the proposed changes are intended to create consistency with new requirements established by the HHS Mandatory Guidelines. Primary proposed changes include:
- Testing for MDMA (aka. Ecstasy);
- Lowering cutoff levels for cocaine and amphetamines; and
- Authorizing employers to use HHS-Certified Instrumented Initial Test Facilities (IITF) to conduct initial drug testing, provided that confirmatory tests are conducted on all presumptive positive test results using a certified laboratory.
Employers may want to consider whether, if these changes go into effect as predicted, they will want to modify any non-regulated testing program to include these types of tests, so as to harmonize their program.
Other key proposed changes to the testing regulations aimed at aligning DOT testing with HHS requirements include the following:
- Modifying some of the agency’s current definitions (e.g., adding a few new definitions in order to make them consistent with the HHS Mandatory Guidelines definitions
- Requiring nationally-recognized Medical Review Officer (MRO) certification entities or subspecialty boards for medical practitioners in the field of medical review to have their qualifications, training programs, and examinations approved by the HHS on an annual basis.
The DOT invites comment on any of the above changes, but specifically requests input on, among other issues, which types of MRO records should be covered under the recordkeeping requirements, and whether the DOT program would be better served if it sought a shared MRO approval process with the HHS.
Comments to this proposal are due on or before April 5, 2010. All comments must contain the docket number: OST-2010-0026 or identification: RIN 2105-AD95, and can be sent or hand-delivered to Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE West Building Ground Floor Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001. Alternatively, comments can be submitted through the federal eRulemaking portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
Photo credit: Jonathan Lenz