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16th Annual FTA Drug and Alcohol Program National Conference

March 14-16, 2023 / San Diego, CA

Presentations & Course Descriptions

Ask the Auditors: The Audit Process
Lori DeCoste, Felicity Shanahan, Joseph Lofgren, & John Spelman
FTA regularly conducts audits to assess grantees’ compliance with Part 655 and Part 40 requirements and to provide technical assistance to FTA-covered employers. In this session, FTA auditors will discuss the audit process and common audit findings. This session will also provide an open forum to ask the auditors questions about maintaining a compliant FTA drug and alcohol program.
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Beating the Cheaters
Craig McNulty
Though the increased use of directly observed urine collections has helped reduce cheating in DOT drug testing, the adulteration and substitution of urine samples remains a problem. In this session, learn from an FTA auditor numerous best practices to employ in pursuit of the elimination of common vulnerabilities within the DOT testing process.
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Beginner Drug and Alcohol Program Manager (DAPM)
George Gilpatrick & Joseph Lofgren
This all-day class is designed for the true beginner where you can learn about the history of drug and alcohol testing in the transit industry, the basic requirements of the federal rules, and DAPM/DER responsibilities under 49 CFR Part 655 and Part 40. Step by step, the speakers will guide you through the building blocks that make up a compliant FTA program. Through discussion of "best practices", learn efficient and effective methods used by covered employers to comply with the regulations. Other topics include policy and training requirements, categories of testing, testing procedures, responsibilities of service agents, recordkeeping and DAMIS reporting.
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Common Pitfalls and Professional Tips
George Gilpatrick
In this session, learn how to efficiently examine your drug and alcohol testing program to reveal unsuspected hazards. An FTA auditor will discuss common pitfalls related to various components of a drug and alcohol program and provide best practices to avoid them.
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A Compliant FTA Drug and Alcohol Policy
John Spelman
The FTA drug and alcohol policy is the foundation of your testing program, the document to which both you and your covered employees turn when seeking information about the relevant prohibitions, tests, and consequences set forth by FTA, DOT, and your company. In this session, you will learn about the required elements of the policy, and how to develop your own compliant policy.
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DOT Test Refusals
Craig McNulty
Learn from an FTA auditor about the different circumstances that lead to a determination that an employee has refused a DOT drug or alcohol test. In this session, the speaker will discuss the DOT refusals as defined in Part 40, as well as some common mistakes and best practices to avoid them.
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Employee Onboarding under Part 655
Kimberely Wells
In this session, the speaker will review the central elements of hiring and onboarding safety-sensitive employees. You will learn the basic requirements for FTA pre-employment testing, training, and previous-employer checks, as well as some best-practices associated with these requirements.
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MIS Reporting and Testing Trends
Michael Redington
This session will provide guidance and answer commonly asked questions about how to complete the annual FTA/DOT reporting requirement quickly and accurately. In addition, you will look at interesting trends compiled from nationwide results submitted over the last several years.
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Records Retention Requirements and Best Practices
Trent Fontanella
In this session, an FTA auditor will discuss FTA’s record retention requirements and best practices for compliant records maintenance. Learn what drug and alcohol testing records FTA requires you to keep, and how best to store them to ensure they are secure, organized, and accessible.
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The Return-to-Duty Process
John Spelman & William "Reggie" Smith
If your organization has a second-chance program, one of the most important ways to support employees who have substance abuse problems is by maintaining a robust deterrent against recidivism. This session will focus on how to return employees to safety-sensitive duties following a DOT drug or alcohol violation. Learn about the SAP process and best practices for maintaining an effective and compliant follow-up testing program.
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Reviewing Your Collection Sites
Diana Byrnes
The collection site is an integral part of a compliant drug and alcohol testing program. In this session, you will learn key strategies for assessing the compliance of your collection sites. Topics include physical site security and integrity, the review of federal forms, and the mock collection process.
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Roles of the MRO and MRO Assistant
Dr. Todd Simo & Toni Clay
Learn about the important work MROs and MRO Assistants do to review and verify DOT drug tests. This session will feature a certified MRO and MROA discussing their respective functions regarding processing DOT tests, as well as the role the DAPM plays in using their services.
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Small and Rural Transit Employers: Challenges and Best Practices
Craig McNulty
Although small transit employers generally have limited resources, personnel, and service vendor options, they are responsible for the same level of compliance as their urban counterparts when it comes to the FTA drug and alcohol testing regulations. In this session, discuss best practices and get practical solutions to challenges directly related to creating and maintaining a compliant drug and alcohol program for small transit employers.
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Subrecipient and Contractor Oversight
Diana Byrnes & Edin Memic
This session will explore the role of the FTA grantee in maintaining responsibility for their covered subrecipients’ and contractors’ compliance with the requirements of Part 655. Learn about the minimum requirements for oversight and numerous best practices used.
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TPA Oversight
Toni Clay
Many covered employers use a TPA to help them perform the tasks necessary to meet the requirements of 49 CFR Part 655 and Part 40. However, employers remain responsible for compliance with these drug and alcohol testing regulations, even when using a TPA. This session will present the various activities that a TPA may perform and will discuss the responsibilities employers have to ensure a successful and compliant relationship.
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Trends in Cannabis Use
Sean Oswald
This session will provide information about trends in marijuana use, including public opinions, popular products, and the workplace impact. The speaker will also provide answers to frequently asked questions and bust a few myths.
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Well-Run Post-Accident Programs
Trent Fontanella
In this session, learn the steps to ensure a well-run post-accident testing program. An FTA auditor will discuss the FTA’s definition of an accident and the thresholds for testing in clear, layman’s terms. You will also hear best practices to ensure decision-makers have the information and tools needed to make compliant post-accident testing determinations.
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If you have any questions or concerns, please
contact the FTA Drug and Alcohol Project Office at
(617)494-6336 or

Updated: Tuesday, May 16, 2023
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