Thursday, April 12, 2018

Relationships with Problem Drinkers

If one of your employees is in a relationship with a problem drinker, they may have behavioral symptoms that could lead you to believe that they--themselves--have a drug or alcohol problem! These employees in relationships with addicts slowly acquire problematic ways of managing communications, social interactions, behaviors, and uncertainties that create conflict with those around them. These are normal responses to addiction-affected relationships. As the disease advances and they may find yourself having to manage these things more often and experiencing emotional stress, creating health issues that contribute to absenteeism. They may have physical symptoms like stomach problems, depression, and sleep problems. If you are a DOT Supervisor, talk to a counselor or your EAP if your company has one, and things appear confusing. A professional will help decide what's going one and suggest options for you to consider. DOT Reasonable Suspicion Supervisor Training for Drug and Alcohol Awareness can be found here.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Federal Railway Administration Post-Accident Drug Testing Training Now Mandatory for 60 Minutes

The Federal Railway Administration now mandates post-accident testing training for supervisors.

This is pretty complex stuff, but all supervisors on railroads and related contractors must be trained. Not to worry. When you purchase our FRA Post Accident Training, you will get the complete Web Course that you keep and  own and install on your own company server. Supervisors can return any time to review the details, even after an accident.

Location of the Training Link:
The program to assist railroads and contractors in meeting mandatory training requirements for the U.S. Federal Railway Administration post-accident training for supervisors is now available at here. These are supervisors who are responsible for regulated service employees per Part 219.11 (g). Specifically, the requirement is to provide training on the qualifying criteria for FRA post-accident testing, and the role of the supervisor in post-accident collections.

Training above is in addition to the one hour of drugs of abuse education and awareness and the one hour of alcohol misuse education and awareness that has been around for quite a while. This makes training for Railway supervisors three hours, instead of two.

This training mandatory and regulated by the U.S Federal Railway Administration as authorized and required under Part 219, Subpart C Testing Requirements.

Background of this Requirement
In 1985, to further its accident investigation program, FRA began conducting alcohol and drug tests on railroad employees who had been involved in serious train accidents that met its specified criteria for post-accident testing (see 49 CFR 219.201). Since the program’s inception, FRA has routinely conducted post-accident tests for alcohol and for certain drugs classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as controlled substances because of their potential for abuse or addiction.

What's Covered in the Program

+ History of railroad accidents and rationale for drug testing
+ Understanding the contents of "Tox Boxes" - the materials
+ Qualifying and non-qualifying events for post-accident drug testing
+ Flow chart representing to successful Post Accident Testing action steps
+ Evacuation to prevent exposures
+ Definition of impact accidents
+ Which crew members to have tested
+ Other regulated employees to test for five qualifying events
+ Refusal to test issues, questions, actions
+ Recalling employees who must be tested
+ Review of Toxicology Boxes, contents, and purpose
+ Paperwork associated with post-accident testing
+ Timely collection
+ Medical treatment priority over testing
+ Where to collect urine specimens in odd situations
+ Sealing and transporting, managing and shipping toxicology specimens
+ Death and post-mortum testing
+ Resources
+ Contacts an the U.S. Railway Administration for Questions
+ Test Questions
+ Handouts
+ Certificate Printable
Discussion of Required Training

We discuss the circumstances associated with different accidents like major train accidents where testing is required; what happens when there is a fatality; impact accidents, fatal train incidents, passenger train accidents, human-factor highway-rail grade crossing accidents and incidents and how drug testing relates to these events. 

We cover the issues associated with the use of “Tox Boxes”;what a regulated employee is; exceptions to training under a multitude of circumstances; responding to incidents; how to obtain specimens; roles and responsibilities; penalties for refusal to test; communications; shipping specimens; how to decide if an employee or employees need to be tested; responsibilities of railroads and employees; requirement by employees to participate in testing; testing of fatalities; time frames within which testing must occur; who must be tested for what; timely specimen collection; breath testing issues; recalling employees for testing after a qualifying event; status of injured employees and post-accident testing; place of specimen collections; consent to be tested is implied for all employees, and no special permission is required; obtaining cooperation of a facility for the purpose of testing; the role of the National Response Center and reporting employees who refuse testing; specimen collection and handling; handling of specimens; forms and proper completion; shipping specimens; FRA access to breath test results; mandatory testing and specimen collection from fatalities; notification of authorities and coroners and medical examiners;

Monday, April 2, 2018

Reasonable Suspicion Training for DOT Supervisor Drug and Alcohol Awareness Education for Mandatory Compliance for the Drug Free Workplace

Observing employees on the job and spotting the signs and symptoms of possible
Stumbling is a documentable behavior if done correctly

impairment that could result from use of alcohol or other drugs is a legitimate concern of business.

A reasonable suspicion checklist that includes a comprehensive listing of possible warning signs and symptoms can help you decide whether to act in accordance with your organization’s reasonable suspicion testing and drug-free workplace policy.

It can also aid you in constructing documentation that is effective and useful. But a list is only half the help you need. The rest is a comprehensive discussion of what all these signs and symptom mean, how to document them properly, what your own myths and misconceptions are about addiction and substance abuse, sub-questions to consider in gathering information, and adopting a mindset that will help you assemble documentation that useful for its administrative purposes, whatever those might be.

When can reasonable suspicion be substantiated? Reasonable suspicion that an employee is using alcohol or other drugs exists when “specific, contemporaneous, “articulable” (able to clearly describe and quantify with senses) observations concerning the appearance, behavior, speech, or body odors of the employee demonstrate the possible use of substances.”

Let’s Hit Every Sign and Symptom from a Checklist for DOT Reasonable Suspicion Training

Employee stumbles and staggers….

When employees stumble or stagger, such a condition represents an unusual level of intoxication resulting from the use of psychoactive substances that also affect psychomotor skills. But not so fast! Most DOT supervisors might think that this is an alcoholic symptom. Most alcoholics on the job never drink so much that the stumble. Because their tolerance is so high, they can drink the amount of alcohol that would cause a non-alcoholic to stumble.

When it comes to an employee who is drunk and stumbling, typically they will be young men who have been drinking alcohol at some social event, party, or reunion. Such a person needs referral, but in most cases—in my experience—these are alcohol assessment and alcohol/drug education referrals, not treatment referrals.

Many alcoholics or drug addicted person can consume psychoactive substances that affect mood and visual or auditory senses, but addicts who have consumed enough of substance that even tolerance does not prevent them from being spotted, is indeed remarkable. Most substance abusing employees do not want to stagger, so doing so means they are out of control.

When your employee stumbles should be recorded. Also record what he or she was doing at the time of observing the stumbling. Also record where they were when the stumbling and staggering occurred, and how you were able to see this behavioral symptom happen.