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Policy Builder - Instructions

This Policy Builder will help you develop a customized anti-drug and alcohol misuse policy statement that is compliant with FTA drug and alcohol regulations. To do this, it will guide you through the different elements of a policy, asking you to choose among various options as appropriate for your workplace.

The Policy Builder has 7 different sections, each addressing one of the questions below.
  1. What is the name of your organization?
  2. Are all your employees subject to the Drug-Free Workplace Act?
  3. Who will be covered by your policy?
  4. If a covered employee tests positive or refuses a test, what is the consequence?
  5. Must all applicants for safety-sensitive positions take a pre-employment alcohol test?
  6. What happens if a drug test has a negative-dilute result?
  7. Do any of these additional provisions apply?

To build your policy, go through each section, selecting all applicable elements. Once you have entered your employer name in Section 1, use the image of next button button to move forward through the tool, or the image of previous button button to go back. The menu on the left contains the Topic Headings under which these additional provisions will apply in your generated policy. At any point you may skip to a section by clicking its topic in this menu.

In sections 2-7, you may click the image of information button button for additional information about the specific regulations that may guide your selections. For more detailed instructions on completing each section, see the Detailed Instructions for Using the Policy Builder Tool. It is a good idea to print this document first so that you can use as it reference as you move throughout each section of the tool.

For best results, you should build your policy in one session because no information you provide while using the Policy Builder is saved or stored in any way.

Once you have gone through each screen, selecting all applicable elements, you will be prompted to generate your policy. When you click the "Generate Policy" link , a Microsoft Word document will open.. In the Word document, you will be prompted to update fields that may refer to other files. Click Yes to update the fields. This action ensures the policy generates properly.

Now you may make any necessary changes. On the cover page, fill in all relevant dates (Effective Date, Policy Adoption Date, and Date of Last Revision). Then continue through the Word document, editing any text in red as it applies to your organization. You may also include additional requirements that are not mandated by FTA. However, you may not impose requirements that are inconsistent or contrary to the procedures required by 49 CFR Part 655 or 49 CFR Part 40. These additional policies must also be clearly identified. Use of bolding to differentiate between FTA and company policy prohibitions, terms, etc. is common.

The Table of Contents on page 2 does not automatically update. Once you have completed your edits, you should update the Table of Contents. To do this, click on the Table of Contents and select "Update Table" in the pop-up menu that appears above it. In the Update Table of Contents window, choose to update the entire table and click "OK" to apply the changes.

* Note: This Policy Builder is intended to create a policy compliant with FTA drug and alcohol regulations only. For an FTA/FMCSA sample policy, click here.

The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 (41 U.S.C. 81) is an act of the United States which requires some Federal contractors and all Federal grantees to agree that they will provide drug-free workplaces as a precondition of receiving a contract or grant from a Federal agency.

§655.4 Definition of a covered employee states: A volunteer is a covered employee if:

  1. The volunteer is required to hold a commercial driver’s license to operate the vehicle; or
  2. The volunteer performs a safety-sensitive function for an entity subject to this part and receives remuneration in excess of his or her actual expenses incurred while engaged in the volunteer activity.

§655.4 Definition of an accident is: an occurrence associated with the operation of a vehicle, if as a result:

  1. An individual dies; or
  2. An individual suffers bodily injury and immediately receives medical treatment away from the scene of the accident; or
  3. With respect to an occurrence in which the mass transit vehicle involved is a bus, electric bus, van, or automobile, one or more vehicles (including non-FTA funded vehicles) incurs disabling damage as the result of the occurrence and such vehicle or vehicles are transported away from the scene by a tow truck or other vehicle; or
  4. With respect to an occurrence in which the mass transit vehicle involved is a rail car, trolley car, trolley bus, or vessel, the mass transit vehicle is removed from operation.

The drug and alcohol testing regulations (49 CFR Parts 40 and 655) allow each transit system to decide whether a zero-tolerance or second-chance policy is adopted. This stance must be clearly identified in the policy.

§655.15 (h) states that an employer’s policy must include the consequences for a covered employee who has a verified positive drug or a confirmed alcohol test result with an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater, or who refuses to submit to a test under this part, including the mandatory requirements that the covered employee be removed immediately from his or her safety-sensitive function and be evaluated by a substance abuse professional, as required by 49 CFR Part 40.

§655.42 states an employer may, but is not required to, conduct pre-employment alcohol testing under this part. If an employer chooses to conduct pre-employment alcohol testing, the employer must comply with the following requirements:

  1. The employer must conduct a pre-employment alcohol test before the first performance of safety-sensitive functions by every covered employee (whether a new employee or someone who has transferred to a position involving the performance of safety-sensitive functions).
  2. The employer must treat all covered employees performing safety-sensitive functions the same for the purpose of pre-employment alcohol testing (i.e., you must not test some covered employees and not others).
  3. The employer must conduct the pre-employment tests after making a contingent offer of employment or transfer, subject to the employee passing the pre-employment alcohol test.
  4. The employer must conduct all pre-employment alcohol tests using the alcohol testing procedures set forth in 49 CFR Part 40.
  5. The employer must not allow a covered employee to begin performing safety-sensitive functions unless the result of the employee's test indicates an alcohol concentration of less than 0.02.
§ 40.197 (b) states: As an employer, if the MRO informs you that a negative test was dilute, take the following action:

  1. If the MRO directs you to conduct a recollection under direct observation (i.e., because the creatinine concentration of the specimen was equal to or greater than 2mg/dL, but less than or equal to 5 mg/dL (see §40.155(c)), you must do so immediately.
  2. Otherwise (i.e., if the creatinine concentration of the dilute specimen is greater than 5 mg/dL), you may, but are not required to, direct the employee to take another test immediately.
    1. Such recollections must not be collected under direct observation, unless there is another basis for use of direct observation (see §40.67 (b) and (c)).
    2. You must treat all employees the same for this purpose. For example, you must not retest some employees and not others. You may, however, establish different policies for different types of tests (e.g., conduct retests in pre-employment situations, but not in random test situations). You must inform your employees in advance of your decisions on these matters.

§ 40.197 (c) states: The following provisions apply to all tests you direct an employee to take under paragraph (b) of this section:

  1. You must ensure that the employee is given the minimum possible advance notice that he or she must go to the collection site;
  2. (2) You must treat the result of the test you directed the employee to take under paragraph (b) of this section—and not a prior test—as the test result of record, on which you rely for purposes of this part;
  3. If the result of the test you directed the employee to take under paragraph (b)(1) of this section is also negative and dilute, you are not permitted to make the employee take an additional test because the result was dilute.
  4. If the result of the test you directed the employee to take under paragraph (b)(2) of this section is also negative and dilute, you are not permitted to make the employee take an additional test because the result was dilute. Provided, however, that if the MRO directs you to conduct a recollection under direct observation under paragraph (b)(1) of this section, you must immediately do so.
Do any of these additional provisions apply?

An employee with a substance or alcohol abuse problem can voluntarily self-refer.

Because FTA’s regulations do not address self-referrals, each program is under the sole authority of the transit system, and the structure is dictated by the employer’s policy.

However, the self-referral program must require that the self-referral occurs before notification of a federally required test. An employee may not request help from the transit system for substance use in order to avoid submitting to a drug or alcohol test.

Employees must report prescription/OTC medications that could affect their performance.

In 2000, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a directive to the FTA to educate transit agencies on the potential safety risks associated with the use of prescription (Rx) and over-the-counter (OTC) medications by employees who perform safety-sensitive duties. Although not required by FTA regulations, employers are encouraged to include policy provisions regarding an employee’s use of prescription and over-the-counter medications that could potentially impact public safety.
Updated: Tuesday, August 29, 2023
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